Two hydrogen fuel cell-based energy generators were successfully tested at a London HS2 construction site, reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality for workers and the local population.
The two GeoPura 250kVA hydrogen power units (HPUs) were tested at HS2’s Victoria Road Crossover Box in Ealing over the past year as a direct replacement for diesel generators to power site machinery.
The trial, tested and commissioned on-site in August 2021 by HS2’s mains work civils contractor Skanska Costain STRABAG (SCS JV), demonstrates that the products are capable of supplying the necessary energy to power site operations equipment.
Andrea Davidson, HS2’s Air Quality Manager said: “This is another example of how HS2 is driving change in the industry by trialing alternative fuel innovations, which will help us develop a thriving low carbon hydrogen sector in the UK and work towards a cleaner, greener energy system. “With no harmful pollutants, the technology brings major air quality benefits to the workforce and local communities around construction sites, something which is vitally important to HS2 across the whole project.”
The hydrogen power units generate 20kW to 2MW of renewable, emission-free electricity using hydrogen fuel cells. The trial revealed that using the units for 400 hours reduced carbon emissions by approximately 51 tons in comparison to conventional diesel generators.
In addition to being quieter than conventional diesel generators, their only emission is water that is so clean that it is drinkable. Using a hydrogen tube trailer and hydrogen canisters, the generator was fueled.
The trial, which was backed by HS2’s innovation initiative, has already been recognized by the industry, receiving the ‘Best Use of Technology Award’ at the 2018 Construction News Awards.
James Richardson, MD of SCS JV said: “SCS JV is committed to reducing our environmental footprint by identifying innovations to power our site operations, such as trialing this hydrogen fuel cell at our Victoria Road crossover box site. We are striving to be diesel-free across all our sites by 2023 and recently announced our first diesel-free site at Canterbury Road.”
Andrew Cunningham, Managing Director of GeoPura, said: “This initial trial at HS2 successfully demonstrates the capability of our Hydrogen Power Units in such challenging applications. The units are particularly valuable in inner city sites such as this, as they not only reduce the CO2 impact of the works but also eliminate harmful NOx, particulate, and noise emissions, making the site a better neighbor in the local community. “It’s great to be working with such innovative, forward-thinking companies who are taking action to reduce their environmental impact by setting bold diesel-free targets. We look forward to continuing to work with SCS JV and HS2 to help them achieve these goals.”