Midlands Engine Partners gather for Hydrogen Summit

Date posted: February 2, 2023
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HyDEX event

Photo by Alex Wilkinson Media

This week over 170 industry, local government and university stakeholders gathered at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK’s headquarters at Burnaston, Derbyshire for the HyDEX Regional Policy and Innovation Summit.

The event was a chance for the Midlands hydrogen community to come together to celebrate hydrogen advances taking place across our region.

There are 20 low carbon hydrogen production projects already in development in the Midlands. Plus, the East Coast Hydrogen Project has signed Memorandums of Understanding with 26 industrial hydrogen users in the East Midlands, confirming their desire to transition to hydrogen fuel across their cumulatively 90 Midlands sites.

Other regional advances to celebrate include the 124 hydrogen buses coming to Birmingham, JCB’s successful development of a hydrogen internal combustion engine in the region, a world-first hydrogen-powered lime kiln trial by Tarmac at their Tunstead, Derbyshire site, and Toyota’s work to develop a prototype hydrogen-fuel-cell powered version of its Hilux pick-up truck at its Burnaston factory.

The event was an excellent opportunity to identify and develop regional hydrogen aspiration, such as around a rail demonstrator and fuel cell manufacturing facility, and emerging opportunities for the production of hydrogen and heat from new nuclear plants, with potential to co-locate future sites near inland Midlands industrial clusters.

In addition, international partners from the Netherlands and South Korea joined to talk about developments in their own hydrogen economies and opportunities for partnership. Around 50 regional hydrogen valleys are planned in EU countries, with the HEAVENN programme in the Netherlands awarded European Hydrogen Valley of the Year 2022. Meanwhile, South Korea is ramping up its hydrogen transport capabilities and currently has over 29,000 hydrogen cars and over 200 hydrogen refuelling stations in operation.

The Hydrogen Summit builds on the Midlands Engine Hydrogen Technologies Strategy which sets out the opportunity for the Midlands to pioneer and deliver a hydrogen economy, with particular regional opportunity to develop and commercialise hydrogen technologies at scale.

It was organised by HyDEX, a three-year government funded programme led by the Energy Research Accelerator. The programme aims to support and foster the creation of a new hydrogen industrial economy in the Midlands.

This will be achieved by working with SMEs, established Midlands-based and UK commercial partners, and multinationals to accelerate innovation, build markets and support the required skills transition.

The eight HyDEX partner universities will also make available their hydrogen facilities, research capability and expertise, and large-scale hydrogen demonstrators to industry partners as part of the programme.

Photo by Alex Wilkinson Media

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