Central Scotland's first hydrogen filling station could put end to car 'range anxiety'

Operators opening the first hydrogen filling station in central Scotland said it would significantly extend the reach of such vehicles north of the Border.

The Logan Energy site, a mile off the A1 at Wallyford in East Lothian, should enable drivers to break out of the north east because the country’s only other mainland hydrogen pumps are in Aberdeen.

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However, it is not clear if the filling station is of the correct specification to allow vehicles to reach the nearest hydrogen pumps to the south - in Sheffield.

Refuelling a hydrogen car (seen in Aberdeen) will now be easier in central Scotland.
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Logan Energy said it was launching the refuelling service - only the 14th in the UK - “to expand the potential of hydrogen in Scotland”.

Limited range

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Hydrogen cars currently have a range of up to about 240 miles, meaning a driver leaving Aberdeen would previously only get as far as the Queensferry Crossing before having to turn round so they didn’t run out of fuel.

The liquefied gas provides a longer range for cars than electric batteries, and takes a fraction of the time to refuel.

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However, hydrogen remains more expensive than petrol because of high costs and limited production, so has limited appeal.

Logan Energy chief executive Bill Ireland said: “While hydrogen-powered electric vehicles offer real reductions in carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions, the widespread uptake of these vehicles is restricted by the lack of investment in the deployment of refuelling stations.”

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'Range anxiety'

A motoring group welcomed the development as a vital next step in making hydrogen a viable vehicle fuel.

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Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of IAM RoadSmart, said: “With range anxiety being such a big issue for those thinking about alternative-fuelled vehicles, this is good news.

“Until a comprehensive network of hydrogen refuelling stations are in place, the full potential of the fuel cannot be judged.

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“But at least this gives consumers a bit more choice in their search to find the fuel of the future.”

Hydrogen vehicles north of the Border have been focused to Aberdeen, where Co-wheels is the only car-sharing club in the UK to offer them.

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A fleet of single-decker buses have been trialled in the city, with Europe’s first hydrogen double deckers also due to be also tested there this year.

Separately, in an experimental rail project, a former ScotRail electric train is being converted to hydrogen power.

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