Cheshire East Council welcomed the official Race to Zero bus yesterday, as it tours Britain en route to COP26 – the major climate change conference in Glasgow.
Known as the ‘carbon battle bus’, the 100 per cent electric bus selected the council’s hydrogen refuelling compound as an innovative project to visit – in recognition of the council’s ambitious plans to become carbon neutral in its own operations by 2025.
Working with Storengy UK, and with support from partners including the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Ansa Environmental Services, the council has recently installed the green hydrogen refuelling compound at the environmental hub in Middlewich – the first of its kind in the North West of England. The project has been shortlisted for an award in the climate response category of the Local Government Chronicle awards later this year.
The facility produces hydrogen in the greenest way possible, using an electrolyser connected to solar panels. This provides safe, clean hydrogen fuel, which will initially help to power two of the council’s refuse vehicles.
As part of the Race to Zero campaign, the electric bus is touring Britain in the build up to COP26, capturing inspiring stories of actions and initiatives being taken by organisations, community groups, services and individuals to play a part in creating a sustainable future for the UK.
The bus was greeted by council representatives and partners of the hydrogen project, with an opportunity to visit the hydrogen refuelling compound.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “I am thrilled that our project was chosen as a site to visit by the Race to Zero carbon battle bus.
“We are taking climate change seriously, and our carbon neutral action plan sets out our plans to become carbon neutral in our own operations by 2025.
“The hydrogen project is a great example of how we can work together to find creative ways of doing things differently in our efforts to create a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future for the borough.
“Initially, two of our refuse vehicles, along with one vehicle owned by Storengy UK, will be powered by green hydrogen. This will reduce the council’s and Storengy UK’s diesel use by more than 10,000 litres per year.
“Through our environment strategy, we intend to lead the way in green initiatives like this, taking action to respond to the global challenge of climate change and enhance and protect the natural environment of our borough.”
Michael Gibson, managing director of Storengy UK, said: “It has been great supporting Cheshire East to deliver creative ways to decarbonise their refuse vehicles – an innovative step towards their target of being carbon neutral by 2025. We strongly believe that green hydrogen will play an important role in reducing carbon and see this facility as a template for future hydrogen mobility projects across the region.”
Philip Cox, chief executive at Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “The LEP is delighted to have been able to have provided the funding that helped to deliver this innovative project. It is another great example that shows Cheshire and Warrington at the forefront of green energy technology.”
Kevin Melling, Ansa managing director, added: “We are committed to working with Cheshire East Council to help them on their way to becoming carbon neutral by 2025. As well as operating the two hydrogen-fuelled refuse collection vehicles from the site, Ansa has been trialling electric versions of waste collection vehicles and we hope to develop this concept in the near future. We are working hard to ensure that sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do.”
For more information on the council’s hydrogen project, visit: cheshireeast.gov.uk/hydrogen.