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New government funding to boost jobs and hydrogen transport in the North East

Green hydrogen refuelling station to be built near Middlesbrough, helping to increase economic growth in the area and decarbonise the transport network.

  • £7 million to decarbonise deliveries in the Tees Valley, with a new hydrogen refuelling station for HGVs
  • hydrogen hub will support hundreds of UK jobs and the North East economy
  • Tees Valley Combined Authority will launch new competition to help local colleges run hydrogen skills training

Groceries are going green in the Tees Valley thanks to £7 million government funding announced today (17 January 2024) for hydrogen projects that will grow the economy and support skilled jobs in the North East.

The funding has been awarded to fuel distributer Exolum to build a publicly accessible green hydrogen refuelling station near Middlesbrough, initially serving at least 25 new zero emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) making deliveries. This will mean thousands of goods being sustainably delivered in the area, from supermarket groceries to new clothes.

The government-funded Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub is the first of its kind in the country, showing how green hydrogen, which does not produce any harmful emissions when used in a fuel cell, can be utilised in transport. The move will not only improve air quality for residents in the Tees Valley but support hundreds of skilled UK jobs and upskilling opportunities for workers.

Technology and Decarbonisation Minister, Anthony Browne, said:

It’s fantastic to see the Tees Valley continue to be a trailblazer in this vital technology to decarbonise heavier vehicles – leading the way for the wider rollout of green hydrogen.

These 3 winning projects will not only support jobs and economic growth in the Tees Valley but will also help decarbonise our transport network.

To further support the sector, Tees Valley Combined Authority will use £300,000 of government funding to run a competition for Tees Valley colleges and training institutions to purchase hydrogen training equipment to upskill the local workforce.

Today’s funding follows the announcement of the first 2 winning projects, led by ULEMCo and Element 2, which will develop hydrogen-powered airport ground-based support vehicles and create new hydrogen refuelling stations.

Together, the 3 winning projects will innovate hydrogen-powered transport in the Tees Valley, creating jobs and apprenticeships. The hydrogen transport hub is already creating significant levels of industry interest, with a number of developers having announced their intentions to build large-scale green hydrogen production in the area, with demand from transport a key factor.

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, said:

Our area is leading the way in developing the cleaner, healthier and safer transport of the future. This is another great example of how we are creating innovative solutions, such as greener deliveries to our supermarkets. As the UK’s first hydrogen transport hub, we are in a fantastic position to take advantage of projects such as this, which will deliver further jobs and investment needed to drive our local economy forward.

As more of these major projects are confirmed, it’s also essential that we develop skills in our workforce, so this funding is vital to ensure local people can take advantage of the well-paid jobs this new technology is bringing.

Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, Lord Callanan, said:

Giving a whole new meaning to green groceries, I am thrilled that delivery drivers in Tees Valley are set to make their rounds using clean, green hydrogen.

We are building a world-leading hydrogen industry, recently committing £2 billion for 11 green hydrogen production projects – including the Tees Green hydrogen project developed by EDF – to provide cleaner fuel for UKbusinesses.

Today’s third winner being announced completes the second round of government competition funding for the Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub following the first round, which awarded over £2.6 million to deploy 21 hydrogen-powered vehicles. The second competition invited ideas on how to overcome some of the challenges of scaling up hydrogen technology, making the region’s supply chain greener with hydrogen-fuelled vans and HGVs.

Government investment in the Tees Valley hub will position the region at the forefront of the hydrogen transport sector, bringing skills, jobs, exports and growth. It will also provide evidence and experience to support future policy, strategy and investment decisions over the coming years.

Exolum Clean Energies Lead, Andres Suarez, said:

At Exolum, we want to be a relevant player in green hydrogen technology, which is positioning itself as an efficient energy vector to help decarbonise sectors that are difficult to electrify, such as heavy-duty mobility.

This project in the UK comes in addition to others we have under development and others already fully implemented, such as the first hydrogen plant for mobility in Madrid, Spain. Thanks to joint collaboration with other pioneering companies, we will be able to offer this new technology to the market to drive the energy transition.

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