LOW emissions technology has been undergoing trials on the island’s roads over the past week.
Two Ford Transit vans converted to run on hydrogen gas have been put through their paces by the Department of Infrastructure to investigate new kinds of greener fuel technology.
Ken Milne, senior manager for energy policy at the Department of Economic Development said: ‘It’s a trial run by te DOI but we are interested too because we are keen to grow the clean tech (low carbon emission) sector in the island.’
Environment Food and Agriculture Minister Phil Gawne said they were keen to embrace the technology but it was dependent on having renewable electricity sources to power the hydrogen production.
‘Once we get the renewable energy in the island it will happen but in the meantime we need to look at renewable energy such as marine or wind power.
‘It’s great to see the technology and to bring people in to the Isle of Man.’
ITM Power which is based in Sheffield brought the specially adapted vans along with a transportable hydrogen production plant.
The plant uses a mains water supply which passes over a specially produced membrane which is elecrified splitting the the water into its constituents of hydrogen and oxygen. Both gases are then collected.
The hydrogen can be pressurised up to 350 bar in special tanks fixed underneath the vans. Mileage to the gallon is the equivalent of about 20mpg and the range before a refill is up to 100 miles depending on terrain and conditions.
But the great benefit is in the cost and the cleaner emissions. The only overheads are the electricity used: refuelling costs the equivalent of about £1.40 a gallon using wind generated electricity.
The pollutants produced are very small according to ITM’s marketing officer Charles Purkess, and carbon emissions are zero.
The company had aimed to visit for this year’s TT Zero race and still hopes to make it next year.
‘Suzuki have a bike in development at the moment which can run on hydrogen,’ Mr Purkess said.
As for the vans, they can switch between petrol or hydrogen and a turbo makes up for a small power loss running on hydrogen.
Infrastructure Minister David Cretney MHK, said: ‘Hopefully we will gain a good insight into the benefits of this technology to enable us to reduce fuel costs.’
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