The ‘Midlands Hydrogen Ring’

The ‘Midlands Hydrogen Ring’ is now serving hydrogen fuelled vehicles with refuelling facilities at the Universities of Birmingham and Loughborough.

It is to be joined now by Coventry University which will provide hydrogen vehicles from its ‘spin out’ company, Microcab. 

Birmingham University’s Hydrogen Energy Project researches how hydrogen energy can be generated, stored and used as a power source in buildings and transport. 

However, as Professor Rex Harris reminds us, ”One of the most energy efficient means of moving goods is by canal and the threats of global warming and oil depletion are resulting in a resurgence of interest in this means of transportation.” 

A zero-emission hydrogen hybrid canal boat has been developed by engineers at the University of Birmingham. The Ross Barlow shows how a combination of magnet and fuel cell technologies could be used to power inland waterways craft.

A section of the waterway from the junction with the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, runs past the proposed new Sainsbury’s store at Selly Oak. The latest plans to be submitted for planning permission will now include a “narrow canal channel”.

Will it offer a mooring site for the Ross Barlow? Professor Harris suggests that the old pump-house could serve as a visitors’ centre and the trip into town would take in the new aqueduct over the Selly Oak by-pass.

Another possibility – he notes – is the use of a hydrogen powered water-bus to provide a city-centre service for the proposed sustainable residential development at Icknield Port.