Hydrogen power is being trialled at this Lancashire road building scheme

Road builders in Lancashire are trialling a new power source to see if it can help cut carbon emissions.

By Tim Gavell
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 4:55 am
The hydrogen powered generator being tried out by Kier Highways on its A585 bypass project in Lancashire
The hydrogen powered generator being tried out by Kier Highways on its A585 bypass project in Lancashire

Kier Highways is using an innovative, hydrogen-powered fuel cell at its National Highways’ A585 Windy Harbour to Skippool construction project in Poulton, near Blackpool.

The project is in collaboration with Hydrologiq and is the first hydrogen 110kVA generator deployment undertaken by Kier Highways.

This government-supported deployment aims to uncover the practical challenges of replacing diesel with hydrogen as well as reduce the site’s carbon emissions, producing less noise, vibration and air pollution.

In late 2021, Hydrologiq secured a grant from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to deploy hydrogen generators on sites throughout the UK.

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It said in the long term, replacing a diesel generator equivalent with this generator could create a 40 per cent-80 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions when powered by grey hydrogen (made from natural gas), and close to a 100 per cent cut when powered by green hydrogen (made from non fossil fuels such as water).

As part of its One Planet Action Plan (OPAP), Kier Highways has committed to achieve net zero scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 2030. This is in in line with the Kier Group Sustainability Framework, Building for a Sustainable World which sets out a target of net-zero across operations by 2045.

Matt Tompsett, head of environment and sustainability at Kier Highways, said: “Hydrogen is a key solution to the decarbonisation of both our fleet and plant. At Kier Highways, we have a target for all our fleet and plant to be running on alternative fuels by 2030. There is no silver bullet to this issue and there won’t be one alternative fuel solution.

“While we are transitioning our small fleet and plant to electric, we recognise hydrogen is currently the most viable solution to larger fleet, plant and generators.

"The trial of this hydrogen generator is an important step on this journey, helping the ‘proof of concept’, expelling myths, and engaging our employees who will use the new equipment and technology.”

On behalf of National Highways, Kier Highways is building a 4.85km long dual two-lane carriageway bypass from Windy Harbour Junction to the Skippool Junction. It aims to reduce congestion, increase economic growth and improve the safety of pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists around the busy A585 route from Fleetwood to Kirkham.