A BRAND new hydrogen fuel car has been loaned to South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust by Toyota as part of the Teesside Hydrogen Hub Trial, a £2.5million region-wide trial testing out 100% zero-emission hydrogen-fuelled commercial and support vehicles.
The pathology department at the trust will use the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle for three months to transport patient specimens.
The car is fitted with 100% hydrogen zero emission fuel cell that emits only water when driving and will use a new refuelling station at Teesside Airport, which opened in January to serve hydrogen-powered vehicles based in the Tees Valley.
A sustainable trust
Laura Hallett, car parking manager at the trust said: “We are delighted to be part of this trial. A huge emphasis has been placed on trusts to take on radical sustainability and environmental measures to ensure that the NHS is at net zero for carbon emissions by 2040. To achieve this, we need to be fully committed to reducing our carbon expenditure, and have our entire workforce driving this important issue.
“We really want to put the car to the test and the pathology transport team will do just that! They have a small fleet of vehicles that are essential for the smooth running of the pathology department. The area we operate in is quite large: from North Newcastle as far south as Staithes and Danby and across to Catterick, Richmond and Hawes areas.
We deal with around 4,000 to 5,000 patient specimens on a daily basis; these specimens could be patient health concerns or routine blood tests. The service we provide is an absolute necessity and a major cog in the workings of the department and in turn the trust."Laura Hallett, car parking manager at the trust
“We have nine disciplines all of which rely on the transportation of specimens from external sites, including hospitals and surgeries, across a wide area. The car only takes five minutes to refuel, which is really important because our drivers work to precise timetables to enable all routine and urgent specimens to reach the labs to be pre-analysed before distribution and analysis by the different disciplines within the department.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: “Teesside already produces over 50 percent of the UK’s hydrogen and we’re already at the forefront of development into hydrogen as a fuel of the future. It’s fantastic that the hydrogen fuelling station that we’ve set up at Teesside Airport as part of a £2.5million region-wide trial is helping organisations like the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust transition to hydrogen powered vehicles. Investing in hydrogen will bring thousands of jobs to our region over the next few years, with thanks to giants like BP and Kellas Midstream who want to invest here because Teesside is the go-to for hydrogen development and innovation.”