Amey goes green with hydrogen vehicles


Amey has become one of the first public service companies in the UK to generate its own hydrogen fuel on site, as part of a national trial of hydrogen powered vehicles. It comes as government announced that the UK, including its local authorities, must reduce greenhouse emissions by 50% (relative to 1990) by 2027, as recommended by the advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Amey is delivering a 10-year contract for Herefordshire Council, worth up to £290 million which includes providing highways maintenance services, street cleansing, maintaining 11,000 street lights and looking after buildings, fleet and plant.

Amey and the council worked in partnership to implement a pioneering model, based on the Managing Agent Contractor (MAC) arrangement to deliver services. By implementing this model, they have saved more than £1 million per year and achieved better results. As part of ongoing efforts to reduce its own carbon footprint, Amey has taken part in trials of hydrogen vehicles organised by ITM Power in association with the Technology Strategy Board.

ITM designs and manufactures hydrogen energy systems for energy storage and clean fuel production and is currently undertaking HOST, the UK’s largest cross sector hydrogen trial. The company delivered two hydrogen vehicles and two 20ft ISO containers – for fuel generation - to Amey’s main Hereford depot. One of the containers houses hydrogen generation equipment which generates hydrogen by ’splitting’ water into Hydrogen and Oxygen using electricity. The pure hydrogen generated is channelled into the second container which houses compression and gas storage cylinders. Specially-trained staff from Amey filled up the loaned vehicles using a dispensing pump similar to those found at filling stations. Amey used the hydrogen vehicles in exactly the same way it would use its own regular fleet. The trial will generate a substantial amount of data relating to the vehicles’ performance. ITM Power will then analyse all the information from 21 independent trials to compare the performance of hydrogen and conventional heavy fuel vehicles.

The aim is to help develop a business case for the promotion of hydrogen vehicles. Councillor John Jarvis, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “It is wonderful that our contracting partners Amey have agreed to be part of this trial and are supporting the council's aims to reduce the county's carbon footprint. It is obviously early days with this technology but I will follow its progress with interest.” Keith Sexton, HSEA Director for Amey, said: “Amey is proud to be helping with research and development into hydrogen vehicles. “Our customers in local authorities are facing severe pressure from Central Government to reduce their emissions and carbon footprint.

In addition, Amey has a fleet of more than 4,000 vehicles and fuel makes up about 80% part of our carbon footprint. “As such we are continually looking for ways to reduce our transport related emissions. In addition to initiatives like fuel efficient driver training, and the roll out of video conferencing facilities, we continue to monitor and support the development of alternative fuelled vehicles. “The system for hydrogen fuelled vehicles does not produce harmful emissions, provided the electricity is produced using renewable energy or electricity on a green tariff. In addition, unlike other alternatives, hydrogen can be efficiently stored, refuelling the vehicle is quick and simple, and the only substance released into the atmosphere is water.” Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power said: “Amey is a perfect example of the type of organisation we strive to work with at ITM Power. We are delighted to be jointly conducting these hydrogen trials with Amey whose commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and its drive towards sustainable transport is admirable.”

Leading by example

The hydrogen trials mark the latest effort by Amey to promote sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint in Herefordshire. With 176 vehicles in the local fleet, which notch up a total of 2,000,000 miles per year, the company rolled out Miles Better - a strategy aimed at reducing mileage and emissions, improving driver behaviour and improving the quality of life of people in Herefordshire. Key aims were to encourage Amey staff to drive less, drive differently, drive better vehicles and offset carbon emissions.

As part of this, the company implemented Congestion zones around all of its operational depots, prohibiting vehicle movements during morning rush hour to avoid adding to the congestion. The firm is also currently trialling two MODEC electric vehicles which have zero tail pipe emissions and zero road tax. Finally, all of Amey’s drivers undertake a driving assessment, and are offered tips to promote fuel efficient driving, such as speed awareness, excess loading, excess idling and journey planning, as well as how to carry out maintenance and daily checks – for compliance and safety. “Actions speak louder than words and Amey has showed its commitment to sustainability, both through research and in practice,” said Keith.


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