A third public-access hydrogen refuelling station has been opened at the Centre of Engineering Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) in Rainham, east London.

Operated by energy storage firm ITM Power, the station is the first of its kind using solar energy from a solar PV array at CEME to make renewable hydrogen on-site.

It is the second of three UK stations to be deployed as part of the pan European HyFive project, which was funded by the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCHJU) and the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

Preceding the station opening, a hydrogen rally took place to the finishing line at CEME refuelling station from two locations.

Some vehicles travelled a 186-mile journey from a wind hydrogen station in South Yorkshire to the solar hydrogen station, demonstrating how excess renewable energy can be used and stored as hydrogen gas to refuel fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in three minutes.

Others started out at ITM Power’s hydrogen station in Teddington, West London, crossing central London to CEME and highlighting zero emission driving across the capital’s low-emission zone.

In total 11 FCEVs took part, including a Symbio FCell Renault Kangoo van, which was brought to market last year by a partnership between ITM Power, Symbio FCell and Arcola Energy.

The trio have created a one-stop-shop for fleet managers interested in adopting hydrogen fuel cell range extended vans on their fleet, including training, insurance and maintenance packages.

Richard Kemp-Harper, business development manager at Arcola Energy, said: “The route between ITM Power’s latest hydrogen refuelling stations shows how commercial fleets can operate within and around central London without compromise.

"This enables London and further cities to meet their business, climate and air quality emissions and presents a solution for improving air quality in direct competition to the incumbent diesel powered vehicles,” he added.