The Government will provide £3 million of funding to kickstart the launch of a hydrogen transport hub in Tees Valley.
The hub, which is expected to be fully operational by 2025, will be used to research and trial hydrogen-powered transport solutions.
By creating real-world hydrogen transport pilots, the Government hopes to better understand the role hydrogen has in meeting net zero emissions by 2050.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “By harnessing the power of hydrogen technology, we have the opportunity to bring long-term prosperity right across the country.
“The hub will establish the UK as a global leader in hydrogen technology, paving the way for its use across all transport modes and propelling us towards our net-zero goals.”
Pop-up trials could see shops, supermarkets, online retailers, warehouse operators and delivery companies using hydrogen-powered transport to move goods and carry out last-mile deliveries.
It could also see local transport operators working with the transport research and development (R&D) sector to deliver emission-free hydrogen passenger services, such as on-demand regional buses or zero-emission refuse vehicles.
The Department for Transport’s (DfT) masterplan sets out a vision for the hub and a blueprint of the infrastructure required to deliver that vision.
The facilities within the hub will also include an R&D campus for the creation and sharing of knowledge and the hub could create up to 5,000 new jobs in the north-east.