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Emissions and the government: hydrogen cells or battery power?

By Jim wright FCILT, Global Sales Director, Clean Air Technology International Ltd.

It is widely reported that the government is being urged to develop a ‘masterplan’ that will enable the decarbonisation of transport, including vans and trucks. The sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vans is due to be banned from 2040, including cars. However, that could change, as the Department for Transport (DfT) is currently consulting on bringing forward the ban from 2040 to 2035, or earlier, and including hybrid vehicles for the first time. 

Our Solution 

At Clean Air Technology International Ltd (CATIL), we have a solution that works, and it works now! This solution would be a massive benefit to reducing emissions, while the arguments and development goes on.

The UK / Australia and other countries have challenges to land a more global friendly solution by 2030 – 2050 or before; in the interim we have a solution that will not solve all of the issues, however, it will assist in an immediate reduction of harmful gases and emissions by up to 80%, while showing a reduction in fuel usage until different sustainable initiatives and solutions are in place and readily avaialble.

We have been working on a catalyst project for the last 8 years and have proven results and data regarding a cost effective, simple to use solution in reducing harmful emmisions by up to 80% in HGV vehicles, cars, vans, mining, shipping, construction and farmland agricultural equipment, together with improved fuel consumption in the region of 6 – 12 %. 

The catalyst has been trialled in South Africa in mining, and in Rotterdam on 3 large inland shipping carriers, showing an improvement of emissions is between 70 – 80 % .Trials are currently being undertaken in Australia, the UAE and Kenya and talks are being held with both the UK and the Western Australian governments, in addition to  large global mining companies in Australia to try and find the solution to reducing harmful emmisions and improving fuel efficiency. We are also engaged in communication with the inspectorate of mining for Western Australia.

We are in production and ready for market. We would like the opportunity to arrange a meeting or conversation with your organisation to demonstrate the results of the above trials and discuss our solution, not only in the UK but also globally.

If you require any more information or clarification do not hesitate in contacting our Global Sales Director, Jim Wright,  on 07747056957, or the email addresses below. Alternatively, please take a look at our website


The Road to Zero strategy, published in July 2018, stated that the government’s long-term goal was the development and deployment of zero-emission HGVs. However, it acknowledged that the pathway to achieving this was not as clear as for cars and vans, which are subject to the current consultation.

The strategy also included a new target for reducing HGV greenhouse gas emissions by 15% from 2015 levels by 2025. It was bolstered by a new EU Heavy Duty Vehicle (HDV) CO2 emission standards regulation, which came into effect in July 2019. The new regulation set binding CO2 emission reduction targets for HDV manufacturers of 15% by 2025, and 30% by 2030 (based on 2019 emission levels).

What Options are currently available?

 Battery Power –  this is currently being ruled out due to weight and size of batteries required. Hauliers need to carry loads that bring in revenue do not want to haul around extremely heavy batteries, thereby reducing payloads.

Hydrogen – Hydrogen is not a perfect fuel; while it has strong environmental credentials in one sense (its only waste product is water), around 96% of hydrogen is currently made from fossil fuels. Fuel companies are developing a refuelling network in Britain for hydrogen trucks, as well as buses, trains and ships but there’s a long way to go.

The price of hydrogen, which is sold in kg rather than litres, is £10 to £15/kg, making it more expensive than all-electric and diesel. For comparison, a fuel cell-powered family car refuels for about £60.

Hydrogen power is widely accepted as one of the cleanest forms of propulsion. The only tailpipe emission is water vapour, albeit heated. There is a significant climate-related problem though: currently nearly all hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels. Although that is changing, it will be some time before all hydrogen is derived from renewables, mainly because there’s not enough renewable energy to go around.

How reliable is Hydrogen power? – Although huge sums of money are being thrown at the problem, the signs are not encouraging, because we do not have a joined-up, agreed strategy. Commitments vary internationally, too. In Europe, most major countries are way ahead of the UK when it comes to electrification of the railways. A report from Network Rail to Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, revealed that just 39% of the UK’s rail networks is currently electrified; this compares to over 60% in Italy, Spain, and Germany.

How safe is Hydrogen power? –  It is reported as very safe Many people are surprised to learn that hydrogen is as safe or even safer than other flammable fuels such as gasoline or methane. For more than 50 years, hydrogen has been safely produced, transported, and used in substantial amounts by many industries using established best practices.

So why is hydrogen safer? 

One of the keys to hydrogen safety—in addition to the best practices for handling it—is that it is 57 times lighter than gasoline vapor and 14 times lighter than air. This means that in the event of a leak, hydrogen rapidly rises into the atmosphere. 

The pathway for the decarbonisation of heavier vans and trucks remains unclear. Currently 610,000 trucks are registered through the DVSA Operator Licencing scheme, although this does not include specialist equipment which is exempt, eg showmen’s vehicles, some construction equipment,  cranes and agricultural equipment.

We cannot see that the solution set out by our government will reach the timelines; there is not the equipment or vehicles available, and hauliers are operating on low margins. To put this into perspective, a new hydrogen truck is estimated at costing currently £380,000.It may be argued that this price will reduce but can we afford to pay more and cut profits? 

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