Liverpool-based tech firm Ulemco has been picked to lead a project to enable development of mass-produced hydrogen-fuelled vehicles for China, as the country looks to significantly reduce emissions within the next 10 years.
The Chinese government has prioritised the need to decarbonise energy and address air quality problems through the use of hydrogen energy from renewables and into vehicles.
This £2m industry-led, two-year project will investigate the practical challenges of developing mass market hydrogen-fuelled vehicles for China, especially commercial vehicles. It will explore novel routes to ‘green’ hydrogen production, and relevant hydrogen storage approaches designed to meet the specific market challenges in China.
Ulemco, which specialises in hydrogen-fuelled systems for transport, has received grant funding via Innovate UK from the cross-government Newton Fund - which was created to use science and innovation to promote the economic development and welfare of countries overseas.
The firm will work with partners the University of Liverpool (UoL) and two Chinese organisations: the Wuhan New Energy Institute (WNEI) of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) and Hubei Swan Coatings, a major Chinese business.
The project will incorporate development work on renewable generation technologies, through hydrogen storage and then use of hydrogen fuel in vehicles, all aimed at lower cost, greater practicality, ultra-low emissions and carbon reduction.
Ulemco will use its experience in safe conversion of commercial vehicles into dual fuel hydrogen/diesel combustion, and develop this approach for a “better than Euro-6 emission standard vehicle” suitable for Chinese markets.
The project will combine a new engine control approach, hydrogen selective catalysts and the low cost storage system into a mass production retrofit conversion kit for light and heavy duty commercial vehicles.
“This is a real opportunity to work with excellent research partners both here and in China,” said Paul Turner, technical director at Ulemco, “as well as opening up a potentially huge market for our commercial dual fuel approach in China. More broadly, this is a real benefit to the UK in the post-Brexit days ahead.”
In the UK, Ulemco's dual-fuel hydrogen technology is currently being used by Fife Council for its urban refuse collection fleet (pictured).