HS2 has increased its efforts to investigate hydrogen as a replacement for diesel power on building sites as part of its attempts to reduce carbon emissions from its construction activities in accordance with government net-zero ambitions.
HS2 head of environmental sciences Neil Wait said that the project’s pioneering use of hydrogen to fuel generators and HGVs might help propel the sector toward much greater usage of the alternative fuel.
Because hydrogen is a gas at normal temperatures and pressures rather than a liquid, it has different storage and refueling requirements than diesel. Nonetheless, using hydrogen energy may be less disruptive than switching to battery-powered electric plants and automobiles.
HS2 is also employing welfare rooms powered by solar panels and hydrogen rather than diesel generators, which Wait claims will be especially useful in more remote locations along the project’s course.
The rail megaproject also intends to use methods to make more efficient use of generator capacity, allowing it to utilize smaller, cheaper, and less polluting generators for a given workload — a strategy known as downsizing.
According to Wait, the contractor Balfour Beatty trialed the EcoNet efficiency management system on HS2 installations and discovered that the quantity of energy required at source can be reduced by roughly 40%.
Simultaneously, on the northern end of phase one, HS2 has converted three HGVs to operate as dual-fuel hybrid trucks using a combination of hydrogen and diesel fuel. It has also used bus-developed technology to clean up the pollutants from older diesel-powered machinery, such as piling rigs.