Ulemco is developing what it claims is the world’s first 100% hydrogen-powered combustion engine for a lorry.

The Liverpool-based vehicle technology firm is converting a Volvo FH16 to run solely on hydrogen. It is expected to be on the road later this year.

Rather than using a hydrogen fuel cell and electric motor combination, already used in vehicles today, Ulemco said the modification of a traditional truck engine will simplify the potential of hydrogen and help speed up its adoption in the commercial vehicle sector.

It will also improve affordability, it added, as powertrain cost is minimised, making hydrogen more cost-effective for operators.

The company has already converted a number of commercial vehicles from diesel to dual-fuel using hydrogen, such as Aberdeen City Council's road sweeper.

The Volvo demonstration vehicle will be its first all-hydrogen example and will have at least 300hp. When running with 17kg of hydrogen on-board, its unladen range is estimated to be around 300km.

Payload is said to be only slightly affected, as hydrogen storage is the only additional hardware.

The project is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

“We are hugely excited about the potential for hydrogen fuel as a route to faster achievement of zero carbon emission in commercial vehicles”, said Amanda Lyne, CEO of Ulemco.

“With this mega low-emission demonstrator, we are showing that 100% hydrogen fuel in combustion engines is a practical and cost-effective option. It sits well alongside the hydrogen dual-fuel conversions that we have already implemented commercially.”