Hydrogen-powered transportation is about to get a kick start in the United Kingdom as the country’s Carbon Trust, a non-profit organization that exists to promote alternative energy and efficiency, announces funding for four manufacturers of hydrogen fuel cells. The companies the group is funding have been working to establish a hydrogen fuel infrastructure in the UK and have been mass producing fuel cells for vehicles. These companies will receive approximately $1.4 million in funds. The Carbon Trust believes that this will hasten the coming of hydrogen-powered vehicles to the country.
The main focus of the funding is to produce new fuel cell technologies that are less expensive than what is currently available. The companies funded by the Carbon Trust have made breakthroughs in this endeavor. Thus far, ITM Power and ACAL Energy, both manufacturers of fuel cells, has shown the most progress. Of the two, ACAL has garnered most acclaim for its fuel cells that are inspired by the design of human lungs and bloodstream. ITM Power has developed a new type of membrane technology that could replace traditional platinum catalysts and up the performance of fuel cells.
Both companies’ technologies are still untested in a commercial environment, making them somewhat risky. The Carbon Trust believes that the funds awarded to these companies will help “de-risk” their developments and make them more viable for mass production and commercial consumption. The Trust believes that by using these technologies, the majority of drivers will be using hydrogen fuel by 2017.