Hydrogen station will help fuel future talent

Redcar and Cleveland College in partnership with Hydrasun are taking the driving seat in the delivery of skills training to support the UK Government-funded Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub.

Plans unveiled today will see a modular hydrogen refuelling facility built at the college made possible with £286k hydrogen hub transport funding, secured from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.

Neil Holmes David Whiles Ben Houchen Jason Faulkner

Expected to be the first college in the country to house a fully functioning modular hydrogen refuelling station, it will be used to train and upskill the future workforce, while raising awareness of how hydrogen can be used in transport.

Part of the Education Training Collective (Etc.), the college will also see the addition of three Mirai cars, in collaboration with Toyota, to demonstrate hydrogen as an alternate fuel in full use.

Executive principal, Jason Faulkner, said: “The government are backing a lot of green initiatives and whether through electrolysis, gasification, or coupled with carbon capture, it is clear hydrogen will be a fuel of the future.

“This facility will enable Redcar and Cleveland College, along with the Etc. and the wider Tees Valley colleges, to train people in the skills required to support the hydrogen developments.”

Sharing resources with fellow colleges, it will open-up potential training opportunities in hydrogen for transport technology to learners across the Tees Valley.

Redcar and Cleveland College has also invested in four mobile hydrogen dispensing unit components which can be loaned to other colleges to undertake practical activities, as well as using the Mirai cars for school visits and the education of motor vehicle students.

The industry-standard modular refuelling station is expected to be in place and fully operational on the Corporation Road site in Redcar by September. It is the latest development in the college’s effort to lead the way when it comes to meeting the demands of the region’s growing renewable and low carbon sector.

The modular station will be a core demonstration tool for hydrogen refuelling training courses delivered in partnership with Hydrasun.

Jason said: “This funding to expedite training and skills in relation to the Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub masterplan is exactly what we need. Working in tandem with Hydrasun, with their expertise and knowledge, means we will have a skilled workforce ready for the future and the transition to new industries.

“The new technology operating hydrogen fuelled vehicles and their maintenance is going to require a different skillset to those of the combustion engine. We don’t want to be waiting until there are thousands of vehicles on the roads before starting that training.

“With colleges working together, it’s exciting and heartening to be able to bring these opportunities to Teesside and the wider Tees Valley and demonstrate, once again, the value of industry links and collaboration.”

Neil Holmes, Hydrasun’s regional manager for the North of England, said: “Hydrasun and Fuel Cell Systems are thrilled to play a pivotal role in the Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub skills initiative alongside our partners Redcar and Cleveland college.

“This partnership aligns perfectly with our commitment to support hydrogen refuelling infrastructure deployment and deliver skills pathways that enable the safe delivery of critical hydrogen projects within the Teesside region, and nationally.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We are leading the UK in developing the cleaner, greener industries of the future, including pioneering developments in major hydrogen projects.

“It’s essential that skills training is in place to ensure local people can benefit from the job opportunities being created, which is why projects such as this and fantastic local providers such as Redcar and Cleveland College have such an important role to play in developing these growing industries.”