ONE of the biggest hydrogen refuelling stations in the country can be built in Bradford after plans for a gas site in the city were approved.

The HyBradford facility at the Birkshall gas storage site on Bowling Back Lane will have the capacity to remove around 800 diesel fuelled buses from West Yorkshire’s roads each day once it is up and running.

The development, which has received millions in Government funding, is a partnership project between Hygen and N-GEN, and was approved by Bradford Council this week.

It is expected to be completed and open in 2025.

It has been argued the facility would be a big pull factor in attracting “green” companies to Bradford.

When up and running businesses and other users in West Yorkshire will be able to use the refuelling facilities on site, with distribution experts Ryze delivering hydrogen to industrial users across the region.

Hydrogen is increasingly seen as a greener way of fuelling larger vehicles such as HGVs, buses and coaches.

At the end of last year, the Bradford hydrogen production facility became the biggest scheme to be awarded funding through the Government’s Hydrogen Production Business Model, with the plant having the capacity to produce around 12.5 tonnes of hydrogen per day.

The hydrogen will be produced through a process known as electrolysis, using renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The Birkshall gas site is the former home to two huge gas holders, which were decommissioned and demolished by Northern Gas Networks.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The proposed layout of the HyBradfordThe proposed layout of the HyBradford (Image: Bradford Council)

Approving the scheme to build the new fuelling station at the site this week, planning officers at Bradford Council said: “The benefits of the hydrogen production facility in terms of carbon emissions and contributing to a low carbon economy is supported.”

Earlier this year, councillors were given an update on the scheme at a meeting of the Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee.

At the meeting, Andrew Whittles, interim director of sustainability, told members more businesses were investing in hydrogen-powered vehicles, and the new Bradford facility was a good pull factor to attract these businesses to the city.

He said: “If you don’t provide facilities for companies looking to de-carbonise, they’ll relocate elsewhere.

“We’re actually hoping businesses will relocate into Bradford because we’ll have this facility.”

He also told the committee that the hydrogen produced at the Bowling Back Lane site could be transported to other hydrogen fuelling facilities – such as one planned for Canal Road.

After the plans were approved, Gareth Mills, managing director at N-Gen, said: “We are extremely proud to be bringing a flagship hydrogen production facility and significant investment to Bradford.

“The site was once home to gas holders, which stored natural gas used by the residents and businesses in Bradford, so it is fitting that the site will continue its heritage and now be used for the production and storage of hydrogen, a cleaner fuel.

“We expect the facility to be a valuable addition to the Bradford economy, providing a viable way for local businesses to decarbonise, as well as attracting new companies and jobs to the area, by placing the city at the forefront of the transition to clean energy.”

Jamie Burns, director at Hygen, said: “The granting of planning permission is a significant step in the development of a facility which will provide enormous benefits to the people of Bradford and the surrounding area.

“Along with our partners, we have worked tirelessly to develop these plans, which will provide a blueprint for how complex projects like this can be delivered, boosting the hydrogen and green economies of the UK.”

Commenting on the significance of the proposals, Amir Sharif, Professor of Circular Economy at the University of Bradford, said: “Clean energy solutions are vital to the transition to a sustainable and circular economy – and hence contribute to a net zero emission future, which the city and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) are committed to.

“The introduction of clean hydrogen energy in Bradford will allow hydrogen-powered electric vehicles (EV) to complement battery-based EVs.

"This means that hydrogen power will be able to contribute to reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions (direct and indirect carbon footprint).

"So, once this facility is up and running then it will provide exciting opportunities to support and create greener local supply chains, as part of the WYCA Sustainable Growth Strategy – as well as creating opportunities for inclusive growth, jobs, and entrepreneurial ventures in the clean energy sector.”