Costain is leading a study looking at how hydrogen refuelling stations can be integrated into the UK’s gas network in anticipation of the increased demand for zero-emission vehicles.

The study, funded by Ofgem, will explore the potential of using the country’s natural gas network as hydrogen fuelling infrastructure.

Costain was selected by Wales & West Utilities to lead the research and is part of an initiative calld HyDrive, which is seeking to address the lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure across Wales and the south west of England.

The company will consult key regional stakeholders to understand current road transport demands, model and forecast future demands on the network and recommend locations where existing petrol stations could be converted to hydrogen refuellers.

Laura Hughes, energy sector director at Costain, said: “Hydrogen will play an important role in the UK’s decarbonisation and energy transition ambitions.

“Through its HyDrive initiative, Wales & West Utilities is leading the way and our research will help improve understanding of the hurdles which need to be overcome to make hydrogen-powered vehicles a reality.”

Matthew Hindle, head of net zero and sustainability at Wales & West Utilities, said the lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure was not confined to its region and it remained optimistic the project would produce a model which can be used by the broader industry.

“HyDrive is a hugely important initiative for us as we seek to reduce carbon emissions across Wales and the south west of England,” he added.

“Having successfully trialled a hydrogen van earlier this year, one of the challenges was the lack of hydrogen refuelling in the area.

“The trial required us to set up a bespoke hydrogen refuelling eco-system and clearly highlighted the need for permanent infrastructure if FCEVs are to become a reality.”