ULEMCo and partners call for urgent infrastructure development
Over 14 tonnes of CO2 was saved in a two-year trial involving just 11 urban trucks and vans running on green hydrogen dual fuel. That is one result of the Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial (LEFT) project to investigate the practical deployment of hydrogen powered vehicles in the UK.
With between 20-45% of the diesel fuel being displaced by green hydrogen on the various vehicles, the HyTIME project concluded that with the appropriate hydrogen infrastructure, fleet wide roll-out could provide a huge and timely step change in overall fleet emissions.
In the trial, ULEMCo – the company pioneering the adoption of ultra-low emission hydrogen fuel with its partners – converted four refuse trucks, a road sweeper, a patient transport vehicle, four panel vans and a refrigerated van to run on hydrogen as a dual fuel.
During the trial period, nearly 60,000 km were covered and 1619 kg of hydrogen used. One of the partners working with ULEMCo on the HyTIME project was Aberdeen City Council, which took delivery of the world’s first hydrogen dual fuel road sweeper, as well as two Merc Econic refuse trucks, and has gone on to put several more of these on the roads since.
The demonstrated benefits would have been even more dramatic had the hydrogen infrastructure been more developed. Project data show that the CO2 saving would have been about 45 tonnes per annum across the 11 vehicles.
“The LEFT trial showed the diverse range of commercial vehicles that can be hydrogen enabled. This provides a route to reducing GHG emissions significantly across fleets of heavy use and heavy-duty vehicles without requiring the operators to make major changes to their usual operations.”Amanda Lyne, Managing Director, ULEMCo
When the vehicles were not using hydrogen in their day to day operations – from waste collection to patient transport and van deliveries etc – the principal reason was the lack of available refuelling facilities.
Other conclusions from the work were that tail pipe emissions in a number of specific applications such as refuse trucks were significantly better than the EURO 6 base vehicles, with the NOx emissions reduced by between 29-85% across the range of cycles tested.
If deployed full time, the vehicles would not only save carbon but also provide improvements to local air quality. At least 96% of the hydrogen used in the trial came from on-site electrolysis from renewable electricity.
The drivers and operators confirmed that, from an operational point of view, the vehicles ‘fitted well with their daily operation’, but said that reliability of the hydrogen infrastructure and fuel availability needed to be improved to get the most from the technology.
Amanda Lyne, Managing Director of ULEMCo agreed: “The LEFT trial was an excellent opportunity for us to show the diverse range of commercial vehicles that can be hydrogen enabled. This provides a route to reducing GHG emissions significantly across fleets of heavy use and heavy duty vehicles without requiring the operators to make major changes to their usual operations.
“A number of the partners including Aberdeen City Council are continuing to use the vehicles at locations where the hydrogen infrastructure is more reliable. All partners agreed that if this was available for them too, they would have continued to do the same.”
The HyTIME project has shown that the opportunity for hydrogen dual fuel technology is available now, with no real limitation on the numbers of vehicles that could be converted.
ULEMCo and its partners believe that hydrogen technology should be seen as a key part of the UK’s energy strategy and post COVID -19 recovery plans. The company is seeing latent demand across a number of fleet customers that would help build the base loads and the commercial case for faster development of the fuelling infrastructure.
The LEFT work was partly funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK, and included independent testing of the overall emissions of a number of the vehicles in the project.
ULEMCo Ltd is the world’s first hydrogen commercial vehicle conversion company, enabling fleet, commercial and niche vehicle owners to have access to zero emission hydrogen fuel, as part of their strategies to reduce transport related carbon emissions.
ULEMCo is based in Liverpool, UK and was founded in 2014 as a spin out of Revolve Technologies, to commercialise intellectual property and capability in hydrogen combustion engine technology. The company converts vehicles, having started with diesel Ford Transit vans, to enable them to run on commercially available hydrogen. The technology allows vehicle fleet managers to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions to ultra-low levels.
Commercial fleets across the UK benefit from a reduced carbon foot print while still having the full range capability of standard diesel vehicles. Alongside various partners, ULEMCo already supports a fleet of vehicles across a range of hydrogen hubs in the UK. The company is targeting commercial fleet conversions to grow the market significantly over the next 18 months, and then expand into other vehicle types over the longer term. Its growth plans include creating a hydrogen re-fuelling network, to capitalise on the existing local infrastructure for this ‘green’ fuel. www.ulemco.com
About the Low Emission Freight Trial (LEFT)
The Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial, is funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK.
In January 2017, OLEV announced that 20 trial projects were to receive funding of £20m to demonstrate new technologies and to encourage the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK commercial fleets.
In total over 300 vehicles will be trialled across the UK. The Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial will help the UK meet its CO2 reduction targets – and represents another step towards the government’s target for all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040.