Hydrologiq and Costain collaborate to trial hydrogen-powered generator on the Preston Western Distributor Road


Lancashire County Council’s delivery partner, Costain, and hydrogen industry start-up, Hydrologiq, have successfully trialled the use of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell generator at the Preston Western Distributor Road project’s M55 compound.   

The trial is the first for Lancashire County Council in line with its carbon reduction ambitions and demonstrated carbon savings from onsite operations of between 70% and close to 100%, when powered by grey and green hydrogen respectively. Moving from diesel to green hydrogen on a similar compound could save up to 11 tonnes CO2e per month.  

Hydrologiq funded the trial through an innovation grant from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which aims to support the deployment of hydrogen generators on real-world sites throughout the UK.  

This innovation established significant benefits for the local community from the use of a EODev GEH2 fuel-cell and battery integrated generator, including extremely quiet operations and the emission of water as sole by-product from its use.   

The trials also showed that hydrogen could transform performance by reliably and efficiently powering an entire site compound, comprising offices, a canteen, drying room, toilets and two battery electric vehicle (BEV) charging stations.  

Benjamin Lindley, director at Hydrologiq, said: “On-site power provided via hydrogen fuel-cell technology has the ability to make construction sites quieter, cleaner, and healthier places to work. The generator itself ran so quietly that a diligent security guard raised a false alarm that the power had cut off when he didn’t hear the expected rumble from the diesel unit. And, whatever the source of hydrogen, a fuel-cell generator only produces water at point of use, eliminating NOx and particulates.”  

“At Hydrologiq, we believe that replacing diesel with hydrogen will happen quicker and safer if businesses are open to collaboration. We are grateful to everyone at Costain who worked with us to make this trailblazing deployment a success. Thanks also to our grant collaborators Blue Lightning Solutions, and our suppliers: generator manufacturers EODev, and fuel providers BOC.”  

Tara McCracken, Project Environment Manager at Costain, said: “Costain has set an ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2035 at the very latest. Our aim is to be a clean growth leader, enabling the uptake of low carbon solutions such as hydrogen and supporting our supply chain to achieve net zero carbon.   

“By 2023, every solution delivered by Costain for our clients will propose low carbon options. The successful trial deployment of hydrogen at Preston Western Distributor Road demonstrates our commitment to improving lives, today and for the future by making infrastructure sustainable and resilient. Our approach to sustainability on the project was recently recognised by the Considerate Constructors Scheme, who awarded us top marks in all categories, including Respect the Community and Care for the Environment. We are looking forward to seeing more hydrogen-powered generators on our projects in the future.”  


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BDC 317 : Jun 2024