A PIONEERING scheme to fuel Knutsford and Wilmslow’s bin lorries with hydrogen could soon help residents breathe cleaner air.

Cheshire East Council has secured funding for a £1 million scheme that will see Ansa’s depot welcome the north west’s first green hydrogen fuelling facility.

It means the council-owned waste management company will produce its own hydrogen fuel on-site to use on lorries which have been converted for it – with the clean energy source only emitting water from the tailpipe.

Cllr Quentin Abel, independent CEC member for Knutsford and the council's climate change champion, said: “Policymakers and industry widely acknowledge that to achieve a zero-carbon economy we need to use fuels like hydrogen as a green energy source.

Knutsford Guardian:

“This scheme means we can take that first step, starting with our heavy-duty vehicles.

"This will help towards combating the increasing climate change crisis."

Working with Northwich-based renewable energy firm Storengy, the council says that the hydrogen will be produced in the greenest way possible – using an electrolyser connected to solar panels and grey-water recycling.

This will provide safe, clean hydrogen fuel, which will be pumped into dual-fuel bin wagons.

Two council-owned bin lorries will be converted at first, along with one Storengy vehicle, reducing diesel use by more than 10,000 litres a year.

“This scheme is an exciting step towards the council becoming carbon neutral by 2025,” added Cllr Nick Mannion, cabinet member for environment and regeneration at CEC.

Knutsford Guardian:

“Building a cleaner, greener economy will not only reduce carbon but also create jobs across the borough through new and innovative technologies, such as hydrogen.

“Hydrogen is ideal as an alternative to diesel for our refuse vehicles.

“These wagons have heavy schedules when delivering their services across the borough and this type of refuelling will ensure they have the cleaner power they need when emptying our residents’ bins.”

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The scheme has been funded by both public and private sector investment – including £345,000 from the local enterprise partnership’s Local Growth Fund.

CEC hopes to have the facility up and running in the autumn, subject to planning permission.