Hydrogen fuel providers will be able to bid for funding in partnership with organisations that produce hydrogen vehicles to help build high-tech infrastructure, including fuel stations. The funding will boost the creation of hydrogen fuel infrastructure and uptake of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
A competition will be launched this summer, and will invite proposals from public organisations, businesses and hydrogen operators. The government will provide match funding for successful bidders as part of its plans to cut carbon emissions, improve air quality and deliver economic opportunities for the UK.
Transport Minister John Hayes said: "The transition to zero emission road transport is both inevitable and desirable as it will improve air quality in many of our towns and cities. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles can play a vital role alongside battery electric vehicles to help us cut harmful emissions.
"We know availability of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure can be a potential obstacle to the take up of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. That’s why we’re providing support to give interested parties the confidence to continue to invest in this new emerging technology to help us achieve our ambition for almost all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040."
Hydrogen vehicles can be quickly refuelled using a pump like a conventional petrol or diesel car, but instead use gas. They produce only water as a by-product and have a range of around 300 miles per tank, like conventional vehicles.
The government is working closely with industry on the future direction of the UK automotive sector and has allocated over £600 million for low emission vehicles over the course of this Parliament with an additional £390 million announced at last year’s Autumn Statement for ultra low emission vehicles and driverless cars.
Paul Van der Burgh, President and Managing Director of Toyota (GB), said: "Toyota believes hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles can play an important role in the transition to a low carbon, low emissions society. We chose the UK as one of the first international markets for our Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car and are pleased that the government is investing in this programme to encourage the further development of refuelling infrastructure and the wider uptake of fuel cell vehicles.
"We will continue to work with the government, organisations and industry partners to help the UK realise the significant potential of hydrogen as a clean and sustainable source of power."
The announcement builds on the launch of the Industrial Strategy green paper published in January which outlined plans to fund new high-value economic infrastructure and reaffirmed government commitment to investing in energy innovation and to tackling the causes of climate change.
A new £23 million fund to accelerate the take up of hydrogen vehicles and roll out more cutting-edge infrastructure has been announced by the government.