BBC Studios Natural History Unit has used green hydrogen to power all 12 episodes of Springwatch’s live broadcasts this year.
The clean gas was produced by a 250kW hydrogen power unit over the course of the show’s three week run from 25 May to 11 June.
After making broadcasting history earlier this year using the generator for critical back up and additional power augmentation for Winterwatch for the first time, BBC Studios Natural History Unit doubled down on its commitment to using the generator for Springwatch 2021, as part of efforts to achieve the BBC’s goal to be net zero in terms of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Based on the premises of BBC Bristol, the hydrogen generator powered the Springwatch OB hub from which the show is broadcast live.
Acting as the show’s control room, the OB hub oversees and directs the whole production with numerous live locations across the UK.
Springwatch has demonstrated the potential for all large-scale television productions to switch to reliable, clean and off-grid energy and transition away from diesel generators in the industry.
Presenter Chris Packham said: ‘Change is the only way we will begin to tackle the climate crisis. And that means taking action.
“I am very pleased that Springwatch has been leading the way in the drive to reduce the carbon footprint of its production.
“It’s incredibly important that we can pioneer the use of new technologies and methods then others will follow and then we have meaningful progress. So personally I would like to extend a massive vote of thanks and admiration to the team that has made this work. Top work!’
BBC Studios Natural History Unit Production Manager Helen Wallbank said: ‘We’re really proud to have been able to maintain the use of hydrogen power across Springwatch this year at our BBC Bristol broadcasting hub.
“Now we’re busy working on plans to continue to integrate green hydrogen technology further into our set up to enable us to power more on location with green energy for future series. We’re also sharing our findings with the wider industry to help drive positive change.”
Provided by Siemens Energy and GeoPura, the hydrogen generator uses green hydrogen gas made by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity generated by solar and wind power, making it significantly cleaner than grey hydrogen.
When used, the hydrogen turns back into pure and drinkable water, meaning that the exhaust is emissions and waste free and the process is entirely circular.
If the energy provided by GeoPura for Springwatch 2021 had been produced with diesel generators, then seven tonnes of CO2 would have been released into the atmosphere in addition to other air pollutants such as NOx and particulates.