London agency reveals its technology for the future after failure of wind turbines

The Greater London Authority (GLA) is set to trial one of the capital’s first hydrogen fuel cells at one of its office buildings in south London.

The technology, which the GLA is promoting as the clean energy provider for the future, will be installed at the London Development Agency’s (LDA) headquarters in the Alsop-designed Palestra building.

A hydrogen fuel cell generates clean electricity and heat by combining oxygen from the air with a hydrogen fuel. The GLA argues that if the hydrogen is produced from a carbon-neutral source, such as solar or wind power, it can be an emission-free source of energy.

The LDA, the body in charge of steering the capital towards a sustainable future, suffered a blow this week after officials admitted they did not know when the wind turbines on its roof would be re-installed.

The 14 turbines at Palestra, which also houses the London Climate Change Agency, were central to its claim to being a flagship green office building.

The turbines had to be taken down less than three months after they were installed after a recall by their manufacturer, Renewable Devices.

At the time, the LDA said they would be re-installed in “about one month’s time”. Five months later, Palestra is still not generating any energy from wind.

The news that the LDA is having trouble generating renewable energy on a city site will delight those developers who have long argued that wind turbines in the city are pointless.

Peter Rogers, director of Stanhope and chair of the UK Green Building Council, said the GLA had got itself emotionally caught up in renewables. He said: “In London it’s a joke. It’s nearly impossible to get renewables to work on individual buildings.”