Hydrogen powered bin wagons coming to Cheshire East

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Cheshire East Council has secured funding which will see bin wagons converted to take home-produced hydrogen.

The Council has joined forces with Storengy for the £1m scheme which comprised of both public and private sector money - a £345,000 contribution from the local enterprise partnership's Local Growth Fund will see the first green hydrogen fuelling facility in the North West of England

Installed at the Ansa environmental services depot in Middlewich, it is proposed to produce hydrogen 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 duel-fuel bin wagons.

Initially, two bin wagons owned by the council and one vehicle owned by Storengy will be converted to use the green hydrogen. This will reduce the council's and Storengy's diesel use by more than 10,000 litres per year.

Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: "This scheme is an exciting step towards the council becoming carbon neutral by 2025. Through our environmental strategy, we intend to lead the way in green initiatives like this.

"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."

Councillor Quentin Abel, Cheshire East 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. 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."

The project has been awarded a grant of £345,000 from the £4.1m energy fund, run by Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as part of the Local Growth Fund.

Subject to approvals, including planning permission, the refuse vehicles will be operating from autumn 2020. All work will all comply with the necessary health and safety requirements.

Cheshire East Council, Waste Collection


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Barbara Hughson
Wednesday 12th February 2020 at 3:58 pm
Very laudable. Not turning up at all, as is the current situation, is even more environmentally sound.
Nick Jones
Wednesday 12th February 2020 at 4:19 pm
Now CEC needs to follow Cheshire Wests example and dump the costly Bentley and its maintenance and Chauffeur costs... that we are paying for in favour of an EV.. I cant think of any one person deserving of any warranted use of a Bentley at our expense... At their own personal expenditure then crack-on !!
The rush for EV when the infrastructure isn't there is concerning, Hydrogen has been overlooked.. this is a positive step to promote an alternative and must be applauded.. But follow through now Cllrs and get rid of that Bentley..
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 12th February 2020 at 5:33 pm
Does anyone know what’s happened to our new food bins that were supposed to be rolled out in 8 weeks... as they told in November?
Terry Bowes
Wednesday 12th February 2020 at 6:36 pm
That’ll be another rise in Breathing Tax (sorry council tax) I presume!
Rev. Sevillia
Wednesday 12th February 2020 at 7:49 pm
Don't know Lynne, but we've got these minute green bins, sitting outside our doorsteps, all along the cul-de-sac. They're not suitable for humans, but some sort of two foot gnome might find them good for shopping bags. No idea what they are for, when it comes to humans.
Peter Davenport
Wednesday 12th February 2020 at 7:56 pm
How interesting. What we have not been told, how much extra fuel is been used after all the bin collections start in Middlewich, and they go back and forth to this area, including Macclesfield.Also, as I understand the former Macclesfield staff now work from Middlewich, and who pays for their transport, and , of course, for the extra time consumed from getting there in the morning, and back in the evening
P Davenport
Mark Goldsmith
Thursday 13th February 2020 at 9:49 am

The new bin routes result in 60,000 less bin lorry miles a year and a saving of £600,000 to the council.

Also, the extension of the green bin collection to all year round and the introduction of kitchen waste collection using the green caddies/green bins is included in this reduction.

Therefore, we are paying ANSA less money for a better service and the bin lorries are working more efficiently.

Best regards

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Florence Collier
Friday 14th February 2020 at 12:45 pm
Look forward to seeing the tonnes of equivalent CO2 emissions saved year on year - well done CEC!
Lynne Prescott
Friday 14th February 2020 at 11:07 pm
Does anyone know what’s happened to our new food bins that were supposed to be rolled out in 8 weeks... as they told in November?
Fiona Doorbar
Saturday 15th February 2020 at 6:19 am
Our mini green bin arrived on Thursday.
Malcolm Elliott
Tuesday 18th February 2020 at 12:47 am
Dear Mr Goldsmith

"Hydrogen powered bin wagons coming to Cheshire East"..........In your dreams.....what a con !
Read paragraph three........'.pumped into duel-fuel bin wagons.'.... (dual-fuel I think you mean).
A dual-fuel (diesel-hydrogen) engine can't be compared to a hydrogen engine.
You are trying to convince the populace you are presenting them with a 7 ton
African elephant when all you have is a little grey mouse.
A pure hydrogen engine is almost perfection.

Read this :

OK...well at least read the conclusions.

Another waste of money........like your planned bypass centerline markings.
(double white lines full length is what we need).

.......and I voted for you !!!!
Jon Williams
Tuesday 18th February 2020 at 9:43 am
"Therefore, we are paying ANSA less money for a better service and the bin lorries are working more efficiently.
Cllr Mark Goldsmith"

Ansa Environmental Services Limited is a company owned and controlled by Cheshire East Borough Council.

Double Dutch again
Alan Brough
Tuesday 18th February 2020 at 3:45 pm
Mark Goldsmith,

I'm particularly interested in the "60,000 less bin lorry miles a year and a saving of £600,000 to the council."

This suggests a running cost of £10 per mile.

I accept that the bin lorry is specialised kit but it operates on a standard commercial vehicle chassis and the running-cost indicated is way out of kilter (x approx 7) with normal HGV operating costs.

Are you sure we're getting best value through Ansa?
Jon Armstrong
Tuesday 18th February 2020 at 4:42 pm
Normal HGVs only have a crew of one though and they don't stop every 15 feet to make a collection.
Alan Brough
Tuesday 18th February 2020 at 8:40 pm
@Jon Armstrong,

You’re quite right but I’m assuming that the crew cost won’t reduce commensurate with the mileage reduction and the stop / start nature of the work shouldn’t inflate the running cost to that degree.
Mark Goldsmith
Tuesday 18th February 2020 at 9:54 pm
In answer to the various comments and questions:

I had no involvement with the press release nor the editor who wrote this article. Therefore, I am not sure why you think I was responsible for the dual-fuel typo.

As I was not involved in this fuel initiative and am not an industrial chemist, so I have no idea what the scientific article you link to is saying. The Cheshire East press release quite clearly says this is a first step and that it will save the use of diesel. Therefore, I am not sure why you are so angry about it.

Finally, on the article about the A34 closure for new road markings you said they will "only scare a few numpties into thinking they cannot overtake'. Instead you want double white lines but surely these "numpties" will just ignore them too?

While I realise driving over double white lines is an offence, but you assume that all drivers know this rule. But EU drivers like those from many other countries do not need to take a UK road test and this road is now a direct link to the airport. Also general ignorance from people taking their driving test decades ago might not know or perhaps they don't fully notice double white lines in the dark due to poor night vision.

However, red is the universal colour of danger, so it is clear that overtaking on these red boxed areas is a risky manoeuvre. They also force cars coming in the other direction to move over as well, so reducing the chance of a full head-on collision. Therefore, I'm not sure why you are so adamant your preferred option is best as I do not think it is as clear as you think.

Yes the council owns ANSA, but we still have to pay them to collect our bins. However, the amount the council pays them to do this has continually reduced, while the service level has increased. I hope you don't think this is still double dutch as I don't think I can make it any clearer.

Just to clarify that the £600,000 saving is not solely from the reduced bin miles. It also comes from the new Saturday collection service and the new food waste service too. Food put in the black bin invariably goes into landfill, which is taxed to make it expensive. However, food in the new green bin service will go to a special plant to be turned into energy that the council can sell.

ANSA is owned by Cheshire East but they operate as a commercial company. This allows them to provide similar services to other councils too because they have become recognised for their excellent performance. These schemes provide ANSA with additional revenue, profit and share their overhead costs which reduces the bill Cheshire East residents pay to get their bins emptied. Its quite simple, the more profit ANSA makes, the less Cheshire East pays them to collect our bins.

I am part of a small committee at the council that monitors the performance of the companies Cheshire East owns. We do this to ensure they are all running efficiently and warrant being a separate business, not an in-house function. Therefore I know what a good job ANSA is doing and the potential they have for doing this for many other councils in the area too.
Alan Brough
Thursday 20th February 2020 at 9:22 am

Many thanks for your response.

If the saving isn't linked directly to (just) reduction in mileage and other operating efficiencies have an impact I am reassured.

I supported ROW precisely to re-gain the sort of scrutiny and control over OUR money that you describe - please keep them "on their toes!"

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