By on November 11, 2014


In a partnership with various organizations, including Briggs Equipment UK, BOC and the Swindon Borough Council, Honda UK has launched its first commercial-scale hydrogen production and refueling facility in its hometown of Swindon, England.

SHD Logistics reports the facility will produce 20 tons of hydrogen annually through solar hydrolysis, a process that creates the gas from water via the sun’s heat. The first customers will be limited to a pair of forklifts and a commercial fleet on the grounds of Honda’s Swindon production plant, as well as an education center next door.

The hydrogen will be delivered through 300-meter long pipes to a refueling point inside the factory, where two Briggs lithium-ion/hydrogen hybrid forklifts will replenish their tanks as needed. The fueling process is expected to take five minutes, each full tank generating 5.5 hours of run time.

Honda hopes the new facility, parts of which were already in operation since 2011, “will be a benchmark for other refuelling stations to follow” as well as reinforce the United Kingdom’s potential among automakers as a place to contribute to the new hydrogen future with vehicles and infrastructure.

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16 Comments on “Honda UK Launches First Commercial Solar Hydrogen Facility...”

  • avatar

    This is fine (in principle), but it’s actually a way to “greenwash” the Hydrogen experiment, whose ultimate goal is to crack it from natural gas, thus “modernizing” the same-old distribution network which will be controlled by (you guessed it) the fossil-fuel giants.

    I hope battery tech advances fast enough to beat this stuff down before we all “get fooled again”.

    • 0 avatar

      I hope you are wrong, but I have a feeling you aren’t.

      • 0 avatar

        My problem is with the wording “solar hydrolysis, a process that creates the gas from water via the sun’s *heat*”.

        The process of using electricity to split water molecules is called “electrolysis”, and the electricity can come from multiple sources (including solar PV cells). In the case of solar PV cells, HEAT has nothing to do with it, LIGHT is what produces the electricity.

        There is some sort of obfuscation (or ignorance on my part) in this article, and it makes me uneasy, as the language of science can be used to mislead as well as educate.

        • 0 avatar

          Indeed, disguising the fact that the process uses electricity and that all hydrogen cars are electric cars with the addition of a fuel cell as generator is part of the obfuscation.

          If it ever were to be known the same electricity from the same solar array could charge BEV’s to go 3 times as far as their Fuel Cell counterparts people may ask, why not just charge cars? And we couldn’t have that.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      I reckon you’re right, especially in the US. If H2 stations get rolled out, almost all will be based on tapping existing natural gas lines and reformulating onsite. I wouldn’t even be too bothered about it if the economics worked out, as US CNG is pretty much entirely domestically-sourced. But large-scale solar installations at refuelling stations? With the margins those stations run on? This is my skeptical face.

    • 0 avatar

      Why would you care if the existing players control the new network? While you are at it it, you might explain what just about every term in that sentence means to you because i can’t determine what you really mean by your post. It sounds to me like you are starting from a common position based mostly on emotion and false presumption and then adding tin hat influenced prognostications.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll admit to sounding like a broken record, and also admit that I don’t exhaustively and thoroughly research my Internet Blog commentary. I post mostly for “fun”, and to test the waters (so to speak).
        Also, when I smell what I think is bullcrap (especially when it comes to energy policy), and I have time, I like to call it out.

        We need to advance beyond fossil fuels in every way, and the time is yesterday. Yet, somehow, the yoke of fossil-fuel energy dependency has somehow become equated with “freedom”, when any one who cares to contemplate the present and future costs will come to the honest conclusion that “freedom” is moving to the next phase of energy supply. It won’t be without pain, or cost (especially convenience), but it has to happen, or the later pains and costs will force the issue anyway, but maybe too late to keep this planet habitable.

  • avatar

    Oops – Reply to JP -Oh well, there’s always a “middleman” built into the scheme, isn’t there? :-)

    I also like how they show “Dear Old Grandma” fueling a car with a 5,000 psi hose. *I* would be reluctant to mess with that.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The photo says Clarity, the article says forklift. I call editorial shenanigans.

  • avatar

    I read most of this article in a Clarkson voice in my head.

  • avatar

    See, now that lady is the main Honda demographic in the UK I’ve been trying to tell you all about. Or even older.

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