C-ALPS joins project to develop hydrogen-power coaches

An EU-funded project developing hydrogen-powered passenger coaches has selected Coventry University’s Centre for Advance Low Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS) to join its 14-strong CoacHyfied consortium.

Official opening of the Centre For Advanced Low-Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS) at Coventry University's Innovation Village (Copyright 2018 Mike Sewell)

The €7m CoacHyfied project includes partners from higher education and engineering who are developing technology that in Britain alone could remove up to 1.4million tonnes of CO2 generated by diesel-fuelled coaches.

C-ALPS set for hydrogen fuel cell development

C-ALPS, which is currently investing £2m into developing a hydrogen fuel cell development facility in Coventry, is responsible for the advanced thermal management system that will look to increase fuel efficiency in novel ways, including harnessing waste heat from the hydrogen fuel cell to power air conditioning in cabins.

In a statement, Dr Oliver Curnick, Associate Professor in Electrochemical Power Sources at C-ALPS said: “It is anticipated that the findings of the project will be of benefit to coach manufacturers as well as future transport operators, who will need to find innovative solutions to support clean mass transport in the future.”

Led by engineering consultants and founding C-ALPS partner FEV, CoacHyfied is to present solutions for challenges in the medium range regional and long-distance public and commercial transport sector. It will do this by developing and operating six fuel cell coaches at two regions in Latvia and France in two-to-three-year demonstration phases.

Two types of coaches will be investigated. One is dedicated to OEM-based new-built fuel cell coaches and the other one will be the retrofitting of existing coaches to provide second life use of environmentally outdated coach chassis.

“There are currently around 13,000 diesel-fuelled coaches operating in the UK, each generating as much as 1000g/km of carbon dioxide,” said Dr Curnick. “We will seek to address the widely-accepted gap in research activity into hydrogen-fuelled coaches both domestically and in Europe. There is also the additional aim of giving a second-life to diesel vehicles that would otherwise have been scrapped in the move to zero emissions, by converting older coaches from diesel to hydrogen.”