Tue, 24 November, 2020
A new national centre of excellence for the research and development of the use of hydrogen to power transport is due to open next to TWI’s facilities in Middlesbrough.
TWI’s Business Development Manager for Skills and Innovation, Abbas Mohimi met with the Mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, and Government Transport Minister Rachel Maclean to discuss the initiative that will see TWI supporting the industry’s transition to net zero.
The new centre is expected to be operational within 18 months, with the project receiving £14 million in funding from the Tees Valley Combined Authority. The centre will open in partnership with Teesside University.
The plans include projects that will convert buses, trains, freight trucks and even shipping and aviation so that they can use hydrogen. Hydrogen, unlike fossil fuels like coal, contain no carbon element, meaning that when it is burnt, it produces just heat and water, making it a realistic sustainable fuel source for the future.
Mrs Maclean spoke on how the UK aims to set trends in clean energy, saying, “As we continue to build on our ‘greenprint’ for the future post-Covid-19 we know that to really harness the power of transport to improve our country – and to set a global gold standard – we must truly embed and embrace change. That’s why I’m delighted that we’re blazing a trail once again with Tees Valley becoming the UK’s first hydrogen transport hub, pioneering the drive forward to develop the more sustainable, greener forms of transport hydrogen will bring.”
The national centre will create jobs for the region, with Mr Houchen saying, “This will catalyse interest, anyone wanting to develop this technology will come to Teesside, by definition that will create more businesses, jobs and economic activity.” He continued, “We have been discussing with the Government for a long time the central role that hydrogen can play in the UK economy and why Teesside should be at the front of that,” adding, “We can be at the forefront of leading these clean, green technologies while creating really good 21st century, futureproof jobs.”
Mr Houchen added, “We really think what we can deliver here can have an impact not just on the UK, but our global future and the fight against climate change as well.”