Ulemco (a UK based hydrogen commercial vehicle conversion company) has been awarded government funding with its partners to produce an optimised design for specialised hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.
It will work with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and its Fire and Rescue Service to design the fuel cell electric powertrain configuration for zero-emission fire appliances. The funding was secured from Innovate UK under the Transition to Zero-Emission programme.
The project is called HySPERT – for HYdrogen Special Purpose Electric vehicle platform for Refuse collection and fire Trucks and would take eight months to complete. In the first phase, the partners will develop a deep understanding of the specific duty cycles for emergency service vehicles, which requires 24/7 readiness, and around onboard energy for 4-40 hours of continuous running.
The project will study the current energy requirement, including the energy needed to pump water for a minimum of four hours. The partners will collect real-world data throughout the project life.
Ulemco will design the optimised fuel cell electric powertrain for the Fire and Rescue Service, with the key output being a full specification and detailed engineered design for a prototype vehicle. In the second stage, a prototype will be physically built.
The Oxfordshire County Council also aims to become a net-zero carbon local authority by 2030 for its operational emissions. Moreover, it will also develop a plan for the hydrogen refuelling requirements across Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and a wider hydrogen infrastructure plan across the county.
Amanda Lyne, MD of Ulemco, said, “Hydrogen has tremendous potential for enabling zero-emission vehicles in the short term.”
Councillor Pete Sudbury, OCC’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change Delivery & Environment, said, “OCC’s Fire & Rescue Service will provide operational insight while the council’s unique Innovation Hub along with Climate Action team will work with ULEMCo to facilitate the project.”
Rob MacDougall, OCC’s Chief Fire Officer, commented, “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.”