Electric vehicles at COP26, set to escort visiting leaders during the conference, are due to be powered by external combustion generators because of a lack of available charging points, exposing the considerable lack of infrastructure available for the UK’s transition towards a greener transport sector, according to Adam Bond, the CEO of AFC Energy.
At a moment the UK can exhibit its climate credentials to the global community, the country will miss an opportunity to lead by example, says Bond.
The UK is projected to have over 23 million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2032; amounting to the equivalent electricity usage of powering every UK household for two months. However, insufficient investment in appropriate EV infrastructure could lead to power shortages across the grid and continue to exacerbate the UK’s reliance on polluting generators.
However, building additional grid capacity to accommodate the demand for smart charging is a costly solution that will take time. Scaling up more flexible green technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cell systems to power EV chargers, will be key in supplementing constrained grid capacity and maximising the environmental benefits offered by EVs.
AFC Energy continues to advocate for the deployment of zero-emission hydrogen generators to deliver a transition away from the use of polluting generators and provide supply security, both in the UK and internationally.
Bond added: that the UK could have deployed hydrogen fuel cell technologies developed locally to charge the EVs transporting delegates at COP26, whilst also exhibiting British technology and innovation.
Bond said the UK should have copied what Extreme-E did in using zero-emission hydrogen power generators to charge electric race vehicles in Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Greenland
Bond reiterated: “While the situation may appear to be a cause of embarrassment for the COP26 organisers, it simply reflects the global reality which is that far more investment and coordinated planning is required to ensure that we have the infrastructure in place to support the accelerating transition to EVs.
“The Extreme E race series has provided a global reference point for sport and industries considering the switch to zero-emission hydrogen power technology to displace the incumbent use of diesel generators.”