London to Launch UK’s First ‘Hydrogen Highway’


London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced plans to create Britain’s first “hydrogen highway” by building a network of hydrogen filling stations throughout the capital.

As part of the scheme, a pilot fleet of around 150 hydrogen cars, five buses and 20 black taxis will be assembled in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics.

The flamboyant mayor has gone on record as saying that he wants Britain to become a world leader in fuel cell technology and his team have made the ambitious claim that, within twenty years, up to one in three of the 31m cars in Britain could be fuelled by hydrogen.

The plan draws inspiration from a similar scheme introduced in California by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state’s governor, and will be rolled out in tandem with a scheme to introduce 25,000 electric car ‘charge points’ throughout the capital.

Speaking about the scheme, Johnson told reporters, “Harnessing low-carbon technology is key to solving the pressing issues of energy security, cutting climate change emissions and improving air quality. With electric vehicles gearing up to become a mainstream choice in a few years’ time, we are creating the right conditions for them to flourish.”

Deputy London mayor and chairman of the London Hydrogen Board Kit Malthouse said, “We think it’s going to be pretty big. We plan an initial network of six or so hydrogen fuelling stations around the capital. We would then be able to fuel the next generation of vehicles.”

Given the ambitious claims for the large-scale adoption of hydrogen transport by 2029, it will be interesting to observe whether this momentum towards sustainable transport will be sustained once the mass publicity surrounding the 2012 olympics has subsided.

Image Credit – doug88888 via flickr

Andrew Williams

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.