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Swindon goes open access for alternative fuel

British council makes alternative fuels accessible to all vehicle users, with opening of an open access hydrogen refuelling station

By Gary Worrall | September 21, 2011

A British regional council is leading the way on making alternative fuels accessible to all vehicle users, with the opening of an open access hydrogen refuelling station.

Built and operated by industrial gases company BOC, the refuelling point is in the grounds of Honda’s UK factory at Swindon but allows access to all hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles.

The station aims to encourage the development of both hydrogen-powered vehicles and the refuelling infrastructure to support them and is located on the busy M4 motorway.

The venture is the result of a partnership between Honda, BOC and economic development company Forward Swindon and can be replicated across the country to create a network for the widespread uptake of hydrogen-powered transport.

While Australia is more likely to benefit from open access natural gas refuelling points than hydrogen stations, the new development shows how public and private partnerships can make costly infrastructure available to all users.

With Australia controlling more than 100 years of natural gas that could be used as a clean transport fuel to replace diesel imports, there is a need for similar open access infrastructure to be established on main transport routes.

Already a number of manufacturers are able to supply a mix of CNG and LNG powered vehicles but the uptake is restricted due mainly to the lack of refuelling points.

A truck manufacturing staffer says the Truck Industry Council is doing a good job of educating the Federal Government on the benefits of natural gas trucks and vans, but more clean emission trucks could enter service if operators had a guarantee of refuelling points.

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