Hydrogen vehicles might just save the planet. For all the hype surrounding electric cars and vans, the reality is that it takes millions of gallons of water, plus thousands of tons of copper, cobalt and lithium to create car battery packs, with a 7-10 year lifespan. Much of that mineral mining takes place in appalling conditions, using child or forced labour. The Atacama desert in Chile faces devastation as governments and corporations scramble to monopolise the lithium buried under that area of eerie beauty.
Think about that next time you tick the ESG box on corporate investment approval for battery driven tech. Your pension fund is enabling slavery and destroying parts of the planet in the race for battery minerals.
Many of the problems developed economies face right now, such as food and utility bill inflation, are down to punitive taxation on oil and gas usage before alternative fuel, power generation or storage systems are ready to fill the gap.
There is a solution and no, it doesn’t involve child labour. Hydrogen gas can be separated from water, which is cheap and plentiful. It even falls on Britain from the sky on a regular basis.
Not only can hydrogen gas power vehicles, but it can stored and used to generate electricity, in the same way gas from Qatar, or the less slave market North Sea, is currently used. You can use electrolysis at scale using solar panels, wind or wave power for the electricity needed to separate hydrogen from water and then store the gas for times when there is no wind, or it’s dark. You know, like a National Grid thing.
Thatcham Research and Toyota are working together on this project and given that Aprilia produced a hydrogen powered scooter TWENTY years ago, hydrogen is long overdue for mass production as a vehicle fuel to replace petrol and diesel. The only thing stopping it is politics and greed frankly.
THATCHAM TEST BED VEHICLE
Thatcham Research is working closely with Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd (TMUK) and a consortium of specialist industry partners to develop a hydrogen version of Toyota’s iconic Hilux pick-up.
To prepare the Hilux for the UK market, Thatcham Research insurance risk intelligence and engineering expertise will be required to assess the repair and safety implications of any adaptations made to the standard Hilux throughout the design process. This includes making recommendations for vehicle development to ensure strong passive and active safety performance, while providing early awareness of potential repair challenges.
Thatcham Research has a key role within the consortium, bringing comprehensive research into future vehicle technology and proven expertise in creating repair training programmes via its world-class Automotive Academy. Insights gathered through the course of the project will form the foundations of future hydrogen vehicle handling and repair training for technical and non-technical automotive sector staff.
Participation in this project builds on work completed in 2021, when Thatcham Research launched its ‘EV Ready’ training programme, enabling businesses to handle Electric Vehicles safely and efficiently.
Richard Kenworthy, Managing Director, Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd said, “This is a hugely significant project for Toyota and the consortium. It is great to work alongside well-established companies such as Thatcham Research and acknowledge what they can bring to this project. Their experience and knowledge of the repair and safety aspects of the vehicle development will enable the wider automotive sector to upskill and be hydrogen ready. This will then also have a direct impact on the insurance rating of the final vehicle. We are confident that this is a winning combination of companies that can collectively contribute to the hydrogen landscape, supporting new job skills and competencies going forward.”
The highly skilled consortium aims to adopt Toyota Mirai fuel cell components, transforming a Toyota Hilux pick-up into a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The multi-year project will result in the production of initial vehicle prototypes throughout 2023 at TMUK’s Burnaston site in the UK.