Government backs hydrogen power

* Government funding for hydrogen power * Plans to 'decarbonise' economy * Plan in place by end of 2012...

Government backs hydrogen power

Hydrogen fuel-cell technology received a boost today, as business minister Mark Prisk revealed a Government-backed programme to help British car makers bring hydrogen vehicles to market.

'Last year was a really good year for the automotive sector in the UK,' said Prisk. 'This programme fits with the environmental imperative to decarbonise our economy.'

The UK H2Mobility scheme brings together 13 partners to solve the 'serious technical and commercial barriers to bringing these technologies to market' and has set itself the target of producing a timetable for development by the end of 2012.

'It requires that the whole of Whitehall be coordinated to deliver these goals', said Prisk, announcing an initial 7.5m of funding.

'People already see the UK as the best place to design, engineer and produce this technology.'

The UK currently has hydrogen fuelling stations in Birmingham, London, Loughborough, South Wales and Swindon.

There are plans to manufacture hydrogen at nuclear power plants, but all the current supply is produced from natural gas, and this is the official method for the launch of the UK H2Mobility programme.

Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are powered by an electric motor, which gets its charge from hydrogen fuel cells. The only tailpipe emission is water vapour.