Hydrogen Powered Holiday Spirit

Trafalgar Square used to be famous for the legions of pigeons that would strut around the square. But this season the local government is hoping that energy technology will bring people to the popular London spot.

Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron flicked the lights’ switch for the square’s Christmas tree, but instead of a connection to the local power outlet the lights are running off of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell. This is most likely the first time fuel cell technology has been used in this way anywhere in Europe, and the unit is the first significant stationary fuel cell in operation in London. The tree project is sponsored by the UK branch of the Bank of Cypress, and Johnson Matthey. Both businesses are members of the London Hydrogen Partnership, which is working with the Mayor of London to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen and fuel cells in the capital. UK fuel cell systems integrators siGEN installed the fuel cell unit, which will only power the Trafalgar Square tree for one week. After this it will be used at public events across London, and will be on free loan to the College of North West London as a training tool for students studying fuel cell and hydrogen systems. Once the fuel cell departs and the tree is plugged into the local electric grid, it will continue to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 75 percent since the lights are more efficient than standard lighting. “The fuel cell was invented here in London in 1839, so it’s high time that this clean and efficient technology was used more widely. I will be working with the London Hydrogen Partnership to make sure that it happens,” Deputy Mayor Gavron said.
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