Fuel Cell Systems needed an Education Centre building to showcase the use of solar-generated hydrogen to fuel vehicles at Honda’s manufacturing plant in Swindon. The scheme was part of the government-funded SWISH2 project led by BOC to promote the use of sustainably generated hydrogen to power vehicles and provide electricity for buildings.Solution :
Karen Sperrey, Operations Director at Fuel Cell Systems, explains: “We investigated a number of building suppliers to find a relocatable building that would have the visual impact we wanted. We chose the glazed Portakabin Titan building for its elegant, appealing looks and its eye-catching glazed frontage, which made just the sort of showpiece statement we were looking for.”
The Portakabin Titan range includes the largest self-contained building in Europe which can be delivered by road as a single unit. The model chosen by Fuel Cell Systems was a 45m2 building featuring floor-to-ceiling windows along one elevation. This not only floods the interior with natural light, but also provides a stunning feature for this high-profile site.
The open-plan building, fitted with a disabled toilet and uprated glass to help reflect solar radiation, was delivered right on schedule. Fuel Cell Systems then fitted it out for use as a hydrogen-powered education centre. They added a plant room to house the fuel cell, a small office and kitchenette and created a large central meeting room and exhibition area. The building’s energy efficiency was enhanced by installing extra wall and ceiling insulation and LED bulbs with PIR sensors to minimise energy use. It requires only a 3kW fuel cell to power it.
The building was transported to the Honda UK site in time for the SWISH2 open-day, when the facility was unveiled to government officials, businesses, council members and consortium partners.
Karen Sperrey says: “The building proved to be so rigid and well constructed that it arrived on site in pristine condition after being lifted by crane and transported by road. It looked magnificent and was the talk of the open day.
“We are very proud of our Education Centre, which offers the perfect way to showcase our technology and its potential for powering buildings in situations where there is no mains electricity. The project leaders, BOC, complimented us on doing such a superb job with the building. This technology is now available to Portakabin customers worldwide.”
“The project was a great success and the team at Portakabin were very knowledgeable and helpful. Their technical understanding helped us to specify the building, and the service we received both before and after delivery was excellent. They did everything they promised, right on time and within our budget.” Tom Chicken, Chief Technology Officer, Fuel Cell Systems Ltd.