ULEMCo to lead £8 million hydrogen fuel cell project

In a strong boost for zero-emission vehicles, ULEMCo and its partners have been awarded £3.9 million by the government, matched by industry to a total of £7.9 million, for a major project with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to develop solutions for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The ‘HYER Power’ project will develop a hydrogen fuel cell range extender module that will integrate into electric vehicles used for specialist applications such as ambulances, fire engines and street sweepers.

The funding has been awarded through the Advanced Propulsion Centre Collaborative Research and Development programme, in support of ambitions to build an end-to-end supply chain for zero-emission vehicles in the UK.

OCC will provide the customer input, trialling and dissemination, and the work will lead to a manufacturing-ready, zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-based range extension system for electric drivetrains. Other partners in the project with ULEMCo include Technical Services (UK) Ltd for cooling capability, Altair Ltd for vehicle energy system modelling, along with Emergency One for the fire engine solutions.

The zero-emission range extender used for HYER Power will apply existing, proven fuel cell technology from the Toyota Mirai, and will demonstrate how zero-emission vehicles can be used in a wide range of specialised and challenging settings. Key outcomes of the project will include a production-ready zero-emission ambulance as a result of the work already completed by ULEMCo under the ZERRO project, alongside a fully working prototype fire-pumping appliance and an HGV road sweeper.

“We are delighted to see this recognition and commitment to developing hydrogen mobility as part of the solution to net zero.”Hydrogen is essential for viable zero-emission solutions in applications such as emergency response vehicles due to the rapid refuelling that enables the vehicle to be ‘fit-to-go’, and to provide the full flexibility and range required for the job. The packaging constraints and the overall energy demand needed for these vehicle drivetrains as well as the onboard equipment, mean that hydrogen solutions are the most cost-productive route to transition to zero-emission fleets. Our strong relationship with OCC will enable us to make rapid progress moving to production-ready hydrogen fuel cell designs.” says Amanda Lyne.

Hydrogen could play an important role in our efforts to decarbonise, especially where battery-powered electrification is challenging in heavy-duty vehicles like fire engines. I’m delighted that we are partnering with ULEMCo on this important step in exploring and advancing zero carbon solutions.” Pete Sudbur said.

We are absolutely committed to acting towards our net zero targets and building on the work we have already done to move part of our fleet away from internal combustion engines. Heavy fire engines pose a particular challenge and we feel that hydrogen-powered fuel cells can play a promising role in delivering on the county’s climate action ambitions.” Says Rob MacDougall.

Engr. Haseeb Ullah

Haseeb covers the global energy market for both conventional and modern energy resources. His expertise is on the global energy supply chain from generation to distribution and end-users. He has a Master degree in Engineering Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
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