The UK government has granted half a million pounds for the development of hydrogen fuel cell and cylinders to be engineered drivetrains for commercial vans and trucks.
While the equivalent of only A$808,000 comprises the funding, Arcola Energy and Hydale Composite Solutions will co-develop the hydrogen drivetrain components as part of the Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial (LEFLT) being conducted by the UK’s Department of Transport innovation organisation Innovate UK.
The announcement comes a week after transport minister John Hayes declared the 20 million pound (AU$32.7 million) LEFLT project was to be delivered by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to 20 firms for gas, electric, battery hybrid and dial-fuel projects, in addition to aerodynamics and energy recovery systems.
The funds will go to heavy rigid and light commercial van owners as well as OEMs.
Liverpool-based ULEMco will receive £1.31 million to carry out trials using new hydrogen dual-fuel technology, while delivery giant UPS will use £1.33 million (AU$2.16m) to invest into smart charging for electric vans operating in inner London.
Air Liquide Group, already a massive producer and supplier of hydrogen and associated infrastructure across Europe and now Australia, receives the largest portion of funding. Its £2.57 million (AU$1.63m) will go toward trials for biogas in 86 trucks from 26- to 44-tonnes in size.
Five prototype refrigeration systems will be developed for cold storage of liquid nitrogen.
The hydrogen initiative will enable zero-emission drivetrains to be designed and trialled in 3.5-tonne vans according to the UK DoT, with payloads of one tonne and 320km of range.
Commercial Group, the UK’s largest commercial hydrogen-developed vehicle fleet will trial the first fully emission-free van in their fleet.
“We are tremendously excited to be involved in a project that is not just at the cutting edge of zero-emission vehicle development,” said MD Arthur Hindmarch, “but which promises to re-invigorate the UK’s drivetrain manufacturing industry, harnessing the country’s long-standing capability in this area.”