Mid and West AM Simon Thomas has called on the Welsh Government to introduce hydrogen powered "non-polluting" trains and buses in Wales.

Mr Thomas was speaking at the launch of research he commissioned that analyses the potential of hydrogen in the decarbonisation of transport in the country at Llandrindod Wells hydrogen car manufacturer RiverSimple on Monday, June 18.

Hydrogen-fuelled trains are currently on trial in Germany, emitting only steam and condensed water, and he called upon the Welsh Government to use the new Wales and Borders rail franchise, which was awarded last month, as an opportunity to show the world Wales' "ambition" for clean energy on the global stage.

"The report highlights how Wales could take a leading strategic role in the emerging hydrogen economy, but how leadership in Wales is lacking," he said.

"If I was the Cabinet Secretary in a Plaid Cymru Welsh Government I would be quick off the mark by taking up the recommendation about reaching out to the Hydrogen Council. We could co-organise a major event in Wales which communicates the Welsh nation’s ambition on the hydrogen economy to a global audience. This event could also celebrate the life of William Grove of Swansea, who invented the hydrogen fuel cell in 1842.

"Wales can once again be a place of innovators by establishing a dedicated team from our universities and councils to secure the funding for the local production and supply of hydrogen.

"The Welsh Government could use the opportunities provided by the new rail franchise and proposed Metros for the introduction of hydrogen trains and buses in Wales to ensure the air we breathe is non-polluting and fresh.”

The report outlines sources of funding, a cost benefit analysis of using hydrogen in the transport sector, the role of the Welsh government, and the feasibility of using hydrogen to decarbonise buses, trains and freight. The document concludes with recommendations for the Welsh Government and encourages the government to provide leadership in joining other countries and regions who are making progress in decarbonisation.

Report author Guto Owen added: "There has been a surge of interest in hydrogen to decarbonise not only transport but also the electricity, heat and agricultural sectors; and to improve air quality. Combining zero emissions and the ability to store energy at scale and seasonally, hydrogen strategies and projects are being advanced by Governments, utilities and technology developers across the world. Wales, with its abundant natural resources, has an opportunity to join the early movers by fast-tracking hydrogen for environmental, health and economic benefits."