The two GeoPura 250kVA hydrogen power units (HPUs), via HS2

HS2 hydrogen generator trial deemed a success

A London based HS2 construction site has successfully trialled two zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell-based electricity generators. The two GeoPura 250kVA hydrogen power units (HPUs) were trialled over the last year at HS2’s Victoria Road Crossover Box in Ealing, in the hopes that they will function as an environmentally friendly replacement for diesel fuelled generators.

The commissioning and testing of these generators come in August 2021 by HS2’s mains work civils contractor Skanska Costain STRABAG (SCS JV). This trial highlighted the generators capabilities to produce the required energy to power the equipment necessary for operations on a large construction site.

Andrea Davidson, HS2’s Air Quality Manager said:

“This is another example of how HS2 is driving change in the industry by trialling alternative fuel innovations, which will help us develop a thriving low carbon hydrogen sector in the UK and work towards a cleaner, greener energy system.

“With no harmful pollutants, the technology brings major air quality benefits to the workforce and local communities around construction sites, something which is vitally important to HS2 across the whole project.”

The hydrogen power units can provide 100% renewable and emission free power derived from a hydrogen fuel cell, with power capabilities ranging from 20kW through to 2MW. The hydrogen comes from 100% renewable energy, with data from the trial highlighting that running the units for 400 hours eliminated around 51 tonnes of carbon compared to using standard diesel generators.

The environmental benefits to these generators are tremendous however, there are a plethora of other improvements on their diesel counterparts, such as they produce less noise disruption, and the only emission is water which is so clean it is drinkable.

James Richardson, MD of SCS JV said:

"SCS JV is committed to reducing our environmental footprint by identifying innovations to power our site operations, such as trialling this hydrogen fuel cell at our Victoria Road crossover box site. We are striving to be diesel-free across all our sites by 2023 and recently announced our first diesel-free site at Canterbury Road."

This trial has been a notable success in many areas, even gaining recognition within the sector through winning the ‘Best Use of Technology Award’ at this year’s Construction News Awards. As the rail sector seeks to implement innovative technologies and strategies to decarbonise, the adoption of generators like these for construction projects can act as the wind behind the sails pushing the ship towards net-zero by 2050.

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