It follows the announcement by Welsh Secretary Peter Hain that Wales has been designated one of the UK Government’s flagship Low Carbon Economic Areas (LCEA)* and will be a lead area, for developing alternative fuels, including hydrogen from renewable sources.
Vehicles driving along the M4 in Wales will be able to refuel with hydrogen fuel or recharge if electric as part of the first phase to extend the low carbon refuelling corridor along the motorway. It will create the UK’s longest hydrogen highway with strategically placed multi fuel filling and recharging points.
It will enable more vehicles to be tested and used on our roads which run on hydrogen, natural gas, bio methane or electricity. This will stimulate more interest in a developing field of motoring technology that could create greater market demand. Changes to the types of vehicle people drive will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our fight against climate change.
Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said the LCEA designation recognised the existing strengths and expertise in Wales in the industrial production and use of hydrogen as well as its involvement in developing renewable alternative fuels for the auto sector.
“It will position Wales globally as a leading centre for driving forward this technology and provide us with a competitive advantage when attracting new investment and research and development into next generation technologies.”
Speaking at the launch event, Environment Minister Jane Davidson said:
“I am delighted that Wales is leading the way in tackling climate change and we will continue to be a flagship for what I hope is the start of a major move away from the use of fossil fuels for transport and in buildings.”
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, said the LCEA had the potential to become an important platform for accessing and attracting additional funding to Wales for research and development for strategic technology projects.
“It presents us with a real opportunity to increase research funding for our academic institutions so they can continue to play an important role in developing new technologies, new products and processes to drive forward the economy and help in the post recession recovery.”
Central to the LCEA announcement is the news the University of Glamorgan, a key academic partner, is investing £6.3m to develop new hydrogen industries, new hydrogen energy processes, products and services including a hydrogen combustion engine test facility at Baglan.
The work - in collaboration with other academic partners, the automotive industry and the Assembly Government - is part funded by the pan-Wales Low Carbon Research Institute.
Additional funding from Cenex, the Department for Transport’s Centre for Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies, will also enable the University to extend the low carbon fuel corridor on the M4.
12 February 2010