Mayor Ben Houchen was among those welcoming secretary of state Mark Harper. Credit: Dawn McNamara

Green energy boost for Teesside Airport

After a successful trial in 2021, the airport will become home to a permanent hydrogen refuelling station from late 2024.

As part of the region’s Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub trial in 2021. Teesside International Airport had housed a temporary refuelling station, also securing low-emission hydrogen fuelled vehicles including cars, trucks, forklifts, vans and tow-tugs.

Now, after being successful in the government’s latest £8m Hydrogen Transport Hub demonstration, it will see a permanent hydrogen refuelling station based at its site.

Transport secretary Mark Harper made the announcement at the airport alongside Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and representatives from operator Element 2.

Harper said: “Hydrogen technology has great potential to decarbonise transport and help grow the economy.

“Today’s winners illustrate the expertise the Tees Valley has as a pioneer in developing hydrogen tech. This investment will provide a further boost to the economy, creating skilled jobs and apprenticeships across the North East.”

Element 2, which established the previous station at the airport, will set up another temporary refuelling station during 2024 and then a new permanent station in late 2024 to early 2025.

As well as being used by the vehicles currently located at the airport, it will also provide fuel for hydrogen vehicles being trialled by local commercial fleets and authorities.

A firm called IVe will be trialling hydrogen-powered vans at the site.

A second project, led by ULEMCo which also received a share of funding, will develop hydrogen powered airport ground-based support vehicles, such as tow trucks for airplanes and sweepers to clean runways.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We were one of the first areas to trial hydrogen fuels and this is continuing to pay off as we’ve been successful in securing this permanent refuelling station.

“Our airport and, indeed, our whole region continues to be at the forefront of the UK’s net zero ambitions, and this hydrogen station is another step forward to supporting the cleaner, healthier and safer industries of tomorrow. It backs up everything we’re doing in our low-carbon journey, including supporting the production and adoption of sustainable aviation fuel – one of the biggest issues facing the industry right now.

“The aim to have Teesside Airport operationally net zero by 2030 is only the beginning, We’re still pioneering offshore, carbon capture and renewable technologies over at Teesworks, to truly cement Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool as the place to do business in innovative and clean technologies.”

Phil Forster, managing director of Teesside International Airport, said: “We’re working hard to make Teesside an airport people can be proud of – and that doesn’t just mean flying to the destinations people love. It’s about acting responsibly, for the good of our local people and businesses and the future of our planet.

“This hydrogen refuelling station does just that, by proving this new technology is safe and reliable, and can be used across all sorts of applications. This makes it clear Teesside is helping to pioneer both the aviation industry and the clean energy sector.”

Tim Harper, chief executive of Element 2, said: “We are excited to have received funding to build a hydrogen refuelling hub at Teesside International Airport to fuel both road and airport demand. This is a fantastic opportunity to show how hydrogen can play a major role in the decarbonisation of road transport and airport operations.”

Funding for the project comes from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

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