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R&D executive Thomas Brachmann fills up a Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell car (Photo: Honda)

Honda has opened the UK's first open-access hydrogen refueling station at its manufacturing facility in Swindon.

The station is built and operated by BOC, a unit of German industrial gas group Linde.

The filing station aims to encourage the development of hydrogen-powered cars as well as a refueling infrastructure necessary for the EV industry to grow, Honda said in a press release.

"This is the first commercial-scale, open-access station in the UK," said Mike Huggon, managing director of BOC in the UK and Ireland,. "It demonstrates that we can build the infrastructure needed to establish a hydrogen-powered transport system."

The station can fill vehicles ”˜back-to-back’ from a bank of hydrogen cylinders. This means that cars won't have to wait for more hydrogen to be generated. Moreover, Honda said it takes just as long to fill up a car with hydrogen as it would to fill it with conventional fuel.

The new station is open to all hydrogen-powered vehicles. It can fill vehicles at both 350 bar and 700 bar, the two standard filling pressures adopted by the world’s major carmakers.

Honda praised the cooperative approach that led to the establishment of the Swindon filling station. Said Thomas Brachmann, head of electrical powertrain r&d at Honda: "The cooperation on this project between vehicle manufacturers like Honda, infrastructure providers like BOC and the public sector can be a blueprint for future development.”

The establishment of a network of hydrogen fueling stations to complement conventional gas stations is seen as a preondition to the widespread adoption of the new technology. Similarly, electric-vehicle sales are held back by a dearth of battery-recharging stations.