29th November 2018 – Liverpool, UK – ULEMCo, the company pioneering the adoption of ultra-low emission hydrogen fuel in the UK, and their R&D partner Revolve Technologies, have announced record breaking energy efficiency results achieved for a 100% hydrogen fuelled zero emission engine. Thermal efficiencies of 45% have been demonstrated in engine control strategies being developed for the Mega Low Emissions (MLE) truck demonstrator unveiled earlier this year.
This milestone performance shows that it is possible to go well beyond previously reported energy efficiency results for hydrogen combustion, at the same time as achieving immeasurable NOx levels. It points to the realistic prospect of zero emission trucks running on 100% hydrogen in the relatively short term. ULEMCO’s approach of adapting existing diesel engine designs to run on hydrogen-diesel dual fuel has provided substantial learning on the opportunity for zero emission engines. This ultimately provides routes to the much quicker adoption of hydrogen in heavy duty applications than alternative approaches, which are still many years away from cost effective commercial availability.
Last week’s report from the BEIS sponsored Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on the future role of hydrogen in a low carbon economy referred to hydrogen in vehicles as potentially playing an important role for heavy-duty vehicles (e.g. buses, trains and lorries). Similar conclusions were reached for longer-range journeys in lighter vehicles, where the need to store and carry large amounts of energy is greater. The report acknowledges that although overall well to wheel efficiencies are less for hydrogen than for battery EV, the latter’s negative impact on payload means that according to the report: “The aim should therefore be to move HGVs to zero-carbon energy (i.e. electricity and/or hydrogen) where feasible by 2050”.
As a hydrogen vehicle can be refuelled quickly, fleet operators can also plan for similar numbers of vehicles to their current operation, rather than needing to increase fleet size to cover lengthy charging times for EVs.
“These excellent results represent engine efficiency levels very similar to those seen with some fuel cell technologies*”, said Amanda Lyne, Managing Director at ULEMCo. “Combining these results with our knowledge of how to ensure that the engine can operate over a wide performance curve – and with industrial grade hydrogen – gives us confidence in this approach. Vehicle operators, particularly in heavy duty applications, will have a truly cost effective option for very low carbon and zero emission driving in the future.”
Paul Turner, Engineering Director at Revolve said: “Our highly qualified team has used dynamometer testing to develop our understanding of how to optimise hydrogen fuel use, whilst delivering immeasurably low NOx from engines that would be ‘right sized’ for use with hydrogen. We are delighted with the speed with which these impressive results have been achieved.”
Hydrogen fuel represents a practical route to radically reducing emissions from existing combustion technology, giving the prospect of delivering zero emissions in the not too distant future. As such, it could help to safeguard thousands of UK engine manufacturing jobs. ULEMCo believes that a balanced approach (rather than just favouring / promoting EV) by the Government would ensure that a variety of technology solutions are available in the future.
*The Ballard FCvelocity-MD fuel cell achieves 45% thermal efficiency at full load. The 100% hydrogen engine being researched matched that while delivering 60kW at a BMEP of 8 Bar. The engine has also demonstrated its zero emissions capability and ultra-lean combustion, running stably at air/fuel ratios in excess of 300:1.
Notes to Editors:
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At the company:
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.
About Revolve Technologies
Revolve Technologies Ltd is a specialist powertrain, engineering and development business located in Brentwood, Essex, and established for over 20 years in the automotive industry.
Its main business areas are product development and consultancy, including design, calibration, low carbon vehicle development, as well as prototype vehicle build and test. Revolve has specialist expertise in hydrogen and dual fuelled vehicles, PHEVs and range extender technology.
Facilities at its 4,000m² main building include vehicle workshops with engine build, electrical and electronics build, fabrication, and a model studio. Additional facilities house six engine test cells. Revolve holds Quality and Environmental accreditation to BS9001:2008 & BS14001:2004.