Known as HYER Power, the project will use existing fuel cell technology from the Toyota Mirai. Targets for the project include a production-ready zero-emission ambulance based on work already completed by ULEMCo under its ZERRO project, alongside a fully working prototype fire pumping appliance and an HGV road sweeper.
“We are delighted to see this recognition and commitment to developing hydrogen mobility as part of the solution to net zero”, said Amanda Lyne, managing director of ULEMCo.
“Hydrogen is essential for viable zero-emission solutions in applications such as emergency response vehicles due to the rapid refuelling that enables the vehicle to be ‘fit-to-go’, and to provide the full flexibility and range required for the job. The packaging constraints and the overall energy demand needed for these vehicle drivetrains as well as the onboard equipment, mean that hydrogen solutions are the most cost-productive route to transition to zero-emission fleets. Our strong relationship with OCC will enable us to make rapid progress moving to production-ready hydrogen fuel cell designs.”
Government funds of £3.9m for HYER Power have been awarded through the Advanced Propulsion Centre Collaborative Research and Development Programme, with additional funding from industry bringing total project finance to £7.9m. OCC will provide customer input, trialling and dissemination. Other partners in the project include Technical Services (UK) Ltd for cooling capability, Altair Ltd for vehicle energy system modelling, and Emergency One for the fire engine solutions.
“We are absolutely committed to act towards our net zero target and building on the work we have already done to move part of our fleet away from internal combustion engines,” said Rob MacDougall, chief fire officer for Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service.
“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.”