Hydrogen refuelling at Shell Beaconsfield..2017..Credit: Ed Robinson/Shell.

Shell has opened a hydrogen fuel pump at Beaconsfield services today; the second of three it will be introducing around London.

The pump, which is the UK's fifth hydrogen refueling point provided by ITM Power, is available to hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles of all sizes with 350 and 700 bar output.

Shell already operates a hydrogen pump at Cobham services and will open a third at Gatwick North in the near future.

Shell hydrogen business development manager Mike Copson told MT that the London area was the natural starting point for its hydrogen infrastructure because of its policies and existing hydrogen sites.

He said: "The reason that London came out as a focus was really driven by policy. So if you look at clean air policy London really has taken the lead.

"But", he added, "there are going to be other cities following close behind. Manchester’s been quite vocal and there are other clean air city proposals on the table".

The hydrogen at Beaconsfield and Shell's other hydrogen sites is generated on-site. An electrolyser combines water and electricity to generate hydrogen gas, which fills an average tank in just a few minutes.

Hydrogen is not the only alternative fuel on Shell's radar, and Copsom added the business was keen to engage with the commercial vehicle sector to learn what it wants going forwards.

He told MT: "It’s a huge subject that we need to engage in pretty quickly. But we must also understand that we’re in an energy transition, we’re not in a flicking a binary switch mode. We’re working towards a point in the future that no one has the answer for yet, and the timelines are a little bit elastic.

"So it really depends on collaboration between energy providers truck manufacturers fleet operators as well and as making sure that the policies are supporting that."