Cairn Lodge, which is owned by motorway services operator Westmorland Family, says the launch marks the first-of-its-kind deployment of a hydrogen-powered generator connected to EV chargers at a UK service station.

Westmorland has partnered with off-grid EV charging solutions company GeoPura to connect GeoPura's hydrogen power unit (HPU), fuelled by green hydrogen, to Westmorland EV Chargers, provided by SWARCO Smart Charging. The GeoPura HPU supplements the current grid supply and provide suitable electricity for EV charging at the service station.

Nabil Subuh, CEO of Westmorland Family, said: “Cairn Lodge Services is excited to offer the first hydrogen powered EV chargers on the UK motorway network. The rapid growth of the EV market has underscored the pressing need for accessible and reliable charging facilities.

“As EV adoption soars, the pressure on the electrical grid has become increasingly evident, leaving businesses like Westmorland to look for creative, sustainable alternatives until there is sufficient grid capacity.  We want to be at the forefront of this sustainable and eco-friendly EV charging revolution, providing a convenient, green charging to our customers.”

“To the customer, the charging experience is no different to a grid connected charger, and by utilising this new technology we can provide much needed EV charging facilities sooner, meeting the growing demand without having a negative impact on the environment.”

EV drivers visiting Cairn Lodge Services now have access to 6 ultra-rapid Westmorland EV chargers from SWARCO Smart Charging powered by green hydrogen until a suitable electrical grid connection is established.

The partners say this innovative solution offers seamless scalability for off-grid EV charging in various applications, even in areas where grid upgrades are delayed or not feasible.

By incorporating the GeoPura HPUs Cairn Lodge Services is overcoming electrical grid capacity restraints and avoiding delays to the opening of its EV charging facilities. Cairn Lodge Services says this meant it was able to meet the demands of the holiday season and the surge in EV charging requests over the Christmas period.

Andrew Cunningham, CEO of GeoPura, added: “If we can charge our EVs from the grid, where in the UK 50% of the energy is renewable, that is by far the best option. However our existing distribution grid wasn’t designed to provide the energy required for an electrified transportation network. This means that many locations where we need to charge our cars don’t have sufficient power available to give the service that their owners require.

“Westmorland Family are to be congratulated for seeking innovative solutions to this challenge and implementing a combination of battery and renewable hydrogen fuel to enable them to augment their electricity grid connection and provide all the power their customers need during peak times."

The GeoPura HPU harnesses the power of hydrogen to generate electricity, offering a clean and efficient alternative to traditional diesel generators to provide off-grid and supplementary power for EV charging. GeoPura units utilise a fuel cell system that converts hydrogen gas into electricity, emitting only water as a by-product.

Anne Buckingham, managing director SIS, part of SWARCO Smart Charging, says securing power from the grid has become an ongoing issue for businesses committed to decarbonising transport: “It is a challenge we see across many of our EV charging projects, so we are delighted to collaborate on this innovative project. The introduction of hydrogen power is a novel solution to accelerating the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure until the distribution of electricity can catch up with the demand from new EV charging sites.”