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Hydrogen hub plans moving forward for Stratford and Warwick

AN AMBITIOUS plan to create a futuristic hydrogen hub in the county moved a step closer this week.

The aim is to produce eco-friendly ‘green’ hydrogen that can be used as low-carbon fuel to power local buses and bin lorries.

The project, led by Warwick District Council and backed by Stratford District Council, will see a hydrogen production hub built near Junction 13 and 14 of the M40.

Central to the scheme is an electrolyser, which uses electricity to extract hydrogen from water.

There would also need to be battery storage and a refuelling section - a carbon-free version of old-style diesel or petrol pumps, where vehicles can be filled up with the green hydrogen fuel.

Solar energy, generated on a neighbouring or nearby solar farm sites, would probably power the hub.

Dave Barber, programme director for climate change for both councils, updated SDC’s climate change panel on Tuesday (January 11) and introduced Chris Smith of consultants Kingscote Enterprises, who is researching the business case for producing hydrogen.

Smith said the government sees hydrogen as a key part of its plan to decarbonise buildings and transport systems as far as its net-zero strategy, which lays out how the UK can reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

He said it might be possible to win funding for the hydrogen hub from government incentives, and investment from privately owned companies.

Both Warwick and Stratford district councils might consider switching their refuse collection truck fleets to run on hydrogen power.

This could also be extended to include buses as hydrogen works better with larger, heavier vehicles.

But Smith pointed out costs must be balanced against benefits.

Sites being considered for the hub are near Greys Mallory roundabout and the Warwick DC depot on Stratford Road in Warwick.

It is believed the hub would take two years to complete.

Dave Barber said: “We see the benefits of hydrogen in providing a fuel for large vehicles such as HGVs and refuse collection vehicles, so we are really keen to get some hydrogen produced in the district as a way of providing zero-carbon fuel for those.

“That’s a really important part of our aims for tackling climate change across our district.”

He added: “The project is very much at the feasibility stage - we don’t know if it is something that can or will stack up, which is why we are doing this study.

“We don’t know if there will be enough demand from people to use the hydrogen but also we need to have a full understanding of the costs of developing a hydrogen hub.

“Once we have that, the council can make a decision as to whether it wants to proceed or not.”

Kingscote will complete its report and recommendations by the end of March.

The next Stratford DC climate change panel meeting is on 8th February and is open to the public.

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