UK H2Mobility

It is important that the development of the Hydrogen Refuelling Stations (HRS) network strikes a balance between maximising customer convenience (and thereby Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) uptake) and minimising the investment required.

Consumers require both local availability and national coverage, and the quantitative survey showed them to be significantly more receptive to FCEVs if they have access to more than one HRS locally. Detailed spatial modelling identified those locations that deliver the greatest customer benefit. It showed that a roll-out targeting particular areas of population concentration and the national trunk routes is the most efficient early strategy.

The analysis and network modelling undertaken within the project indicated that 65 stations across the UK could provide sufficient initial coverage to start the market, covering major population centres (with more than one HRS) and connecting roads (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Initial HRS network coverage of trunk routes and major population centres in 2015. © UK H₂Mobility Project
Figure 2: Initial HRS network coverage of trunk routes and major population centres in 2015. © UK H2Mobility Project

Thereafter, the network develops with the demand for hydrogen. The roadmap shows full national coverage with 1,150 stations by 2030, providing close-to-home refuelling for the whole of the UK (see Figure 3).

In the market conditions assumed in the UK H2Mobility roadmap, the HRS network will be able to cover its operating costs by the early 2020s and reach break-even in the late 2020s. In the roadmap, the total financing needed up to the break-even point is £418m, of which £62m is required before 2020.

Low utilisation of the HRS network before 2020 will hurt early profitability. The challenge is to secure initial investment, and it may be necessary to seed the market. UK H2Mobility will look at developing business cases for the initial network of stations, including showing how usage rates might be increased and how commercial advantages might be gained from their first-mover status.

Figure 3: The development of local HRS network coverage in terms of the proportion of the UK vehicle parc with access to zero, one and two or more HRS in their local district. © UK H₂Mobility Project
Figure 3: The development of local HRS network coverage in terms of the proportion of the UK vehicle parc with access to zero, one and two or more HRS in their local district. © UK H2Mobility Project