A PIONEERING new project to start fuelling Ansa lorries in Middlewich with hydrogen has been given the go-ahead by planning chiefs.

Cheshire East Council has given the green light for its waste management firm to install a refuelling station at the Cledford Lane hub.

Ansa, along with King Street-based partner Storengy, is looking to introduce two ‘dual fuel’ bin lorries into its Cheshire East rounds ‘by early 2021’.

Council chiefs hailed the scheme as an ‘exciting first step’ in CEC's bid to become carbon neutral by 2025 when it was announced back in February.

Lorries would, on completion of their collection routes, return to the environmental hub to be refilled with diesel and then hydrogen at the proposed new nearby refuelling area.

They would be powered by injecting both hydrogen and diesel into the internal combustion engine, with the hydrogen displacing up to 40 per cent of the diesel.

An alkaline electrolyser will be installed on-site, using rainwater to cleanly generate and store hydrogen ready for use.

A report from CEC planning officers said: "The proposed development is considered to be sustainable development, in particular because it would assist in allowing vehicles to utilise hydrogen, a low carbon technology, and this would help to assist in the move away from fossil fuels.

"The proposal would comply with all relevant policies within the [local plan]."

The project is being funded by Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, Cheshire East Council, and Storengy UK.