The Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell has been leased to the University by Lex Autolease, marking the next stage in the development of alternative technology to traditionally-fuelled petrol and diesel vehicles.
Though a handful of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are already being trialled in the UK, the University of Birmingham is believed to be the first in the country to employ the technology as part of its day-to-day fleet operations – it previously ran five hydrogen powered cars on its campus as part of a research project.
The new vehicle will be used for staff transport and as part of the University’s chauffeur service for visitors, making it the first example of the technology to be used solely as a working vehicle. An onsite hydrogen fuelling station, unveiled in 2008 to support work carried out at the University’s Centre for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research, will provide the power for the new vehicle.
The Centre focuses on research and development, applications and demonstrations of hydrogen and fuel cell systems; and has numerous patents in fuel cell technologies. Work there also focuses on the implementation of a hydrogen and fuel cell supply chain working with around 60 SMEs to develop components.
The University has long been renowned for pioneering research which results in practical applications to improve people’s lives and the use of this car as part of our regular fleet is a tangible example of how scientific research can be turned into reality
Researchers are working to determine how these hydrogen vehicles need to be adapted in order to make hydrogen an attractive and cost effective option as a future fuel. The new delivery is another step forwards towards that goal.
The University already has around 20 electric vehicles – around one-fifth of its fleet, as it strives to reduce emissions across its estate.
Stuart Richards, Director of Hospitality and Accommodation Services at the University said: “We are in a unique position here on our main campus in Edgbaston, with our own hydrogen refuelling station making it possible to employ new technologies such as the hydrogen fuel cell cars in our day-to-day activities. The University has long been renowned for pioneering research which results in practical applications to improve people’s lives and the use of this car as part of our regular fleet is a tangible example of how scientific research can be turned into reality.”