Europe’s largest facility dedicated to the testing of components and systems for the emerging hydrogen economy was officially opened on Wednesday 6 June at Haskel Europe, part of Accudyne Industries, at its European headquarters in Sunderland.

The facility will, for the first time, enable Haskel Europe to offer its suppliers and customers the benefit of real life simulation at extremely high pressures to develop products before releasing them for sale.

The facility opens in response to a growing awareness of the environmental impact of traditional hydrocarbon fuels and the importance of hydrogen as a zero-emission energy source in any future energy mix.

Increasing the use of hydrogen could deliver a fifth of the Green House Gas emission cuts needed by 2050 to limit the impacts of climate change * according to the Hydrogen Council – a collective of automotive and energy firms.

In the UK, meanwhile, it is predicted that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could account for half of all cars on British roads by 2050.

Haskel Europe has made a significant investment in its new hydrogen testing facility, and it has been supported by Sunderland City Council’s business investment team.

The new centre can be used to test a single part through to fully integrated refuelling system. Previously, testing of hydrogen components in Europe was only possible on a small scale, in laboratory conditions.

Haskel will shortly commission an SAE J2601 fuelling facility at its Sunderland plant complementing its testing capabilities.

Stewart Anderson, Haskel Europe’s Hydrogen Engineering Manager, believes the facility will have worldwide appeal as the push to adopt hydrogen increases.

He said. “Our new facility represents a major step forward, giving companies everything they need to test their technology and components to the absolute limit.”

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is an important hydrogen facility for the sector worldwide, and I’m delighted that Haskel’s Sunderland HQ has taken the initiative to build it. It proves yet again that the city hosts some of the UK’s top companies, and that the council does all it can to help them thrive.

“We worked closely with Haskel to help to put in place the resources it needed, and it’s rewarding to hear that these are leading to further contracts as a result and strengthening Haskel’s position as a global leader in its field.”

Darran Heath, Global Hydrogen General Manager at Haskel Europe, added: “Being able to test hydrogen products and systems in a working environment is essential if this emerging, clean fuel source is to live up to its huge potential. We are already talking to a number of car manufacturers and other stakeholders and plan to play an important role in further advancing this exciting field.”

Haskel Europe has been supplying gas boosters designed specifically to work with pressurised hydrogen gas for almost 70 years. It also develops systems which safely handle other gases and liquids for clients in the oil, gas, energy and defence sectors.

Established in Sunderland in 1950 Haskel is a world leader in high pressure products, exporting 55 per cent of its systems. It employs 62 staff in Sunderland and has offices across the world.

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