National Physical Laboratory

Isle of Wight: EcoIsland

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is collaborating on a project led by ITM Power to create an integrated hydrogen energy storage and vehicle refuelling system on the Isle of Wight.

The Isle of Wight will become a test bed for hydrogen fuel (image courtesy of iStockphoto)
The Isle of Wight will become a test bed for hydrogen
fuel (image courtesy of iStockphoto)

The 'EcoIsland' project will design, build, install and operate two grid-connected hydrogen fuel stations to provide for a fleet of around 20 hydrogen vehicles. These will include fuel cell electric vehicle cars, hydrogen internal combustion engine (HICE) vans and a HICE boat.

The hydrogen fuel will be produced using surplus renewable energy such as that generated overnight by wind turbines. This means it will be a 'triple zero fuel' - with no CO2 emissions from its generation, transportation or use. The project will demonstrate the use of hydrogen as a means of demand side management, which is an action that changes how electricity is used to better balance the demand with the supply. In this case, the intermittent and excess renewable energy is used to produce a fuel with both financial and environmental value.

NPL's role in the project is to provide accurate and traceable measurements of the purity of the hydrogen supplied by the refuelling stations. The measurements will check whether the hydrogen is pure enough to comply with the specifications set out by the international standard ISO 14687-2. NPL scientists will also provide quality assurance and technical support with sample collection.

The project will result in greater public awareness about the environmental benefits of zero-carbon fuels and the potential to fully utilise excess renewable energy. There will be local environmental benefits, as well as a much wider impact with the roll-out of hydrogen infrastructure under the UKH2Mobility plan, which aims to ensure the UK is ready for the commercial use of hydrogen as a fuel for vehicles by 2014/15.

The EcoIsland project is co-funded by a grant from the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board and the lead partner is ITM Power, which designs and manufactures hydrogen energy systems for energy storage and clean fuel production. The other project partners are:

More on NPL's work on hydrogen purity analysis and storage

Find out what the Centre for Carbon Measurement at NPL is doing to accelerate the development of low carbon technologies.

For more information, please contact Andrew Brown

Last Updated: 23 Oct 2013
Created: 3 Sep 2012