UK fleets funded for green technology tests

Government pushes ahead on hydrogen vans, as low emissions commercial vehicle push get major boost

UK fleets funded for green technology tests
Electric vans are amongst the vehicles on the UK government’s support list


The British government has backed national hydrogen and fuel cell firm Arcola Energy and tank gas-tank builder Haydale Composite Solutions financially to develop hydrogen-enabled drive trains for commercial vans and trucks.

The relatively modest £500,000 (A$806,000) grant is part of the Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial (LEFLT), funded by the Department for Transport and government innovation agency Innovate UK.

"This project will help cut vehicle emissions, improving air quality and reducing pollution in towns and cities," transport minister John Hayes says.

The statement comes a week after Hayes announced the £20 million LEFLT to be delivered by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to 20 firms for gas, electric, battery, hybrid and dual-fuel projects, along with aerodynamics and kinetic energy recovery efforts.

The cash goes to truck and van fleet owners as well as vehicle and equipment manufacturers.

A partnership led by ULEMco from Liverpool will receive £1.31 million to carry out trials using innovative hydrogen dual-fuel technology, and UPS will get £1.33 million to invest in smart charging of its electric vans which run in central London.

Air Liquide Group receives the largest amount of funding – £2.57 million – for its project trialling biogas in 86 trucks ranging from 26 tonnes to 44 tonnes.

In addition, five refrigeration units will use a prototype liquid nitrogen system.

This hydrogen initiative will enable the development of a zero-emission drivetrain, to be incorporated into a 3.5-tonne van, the UK Department of Transport says.

The 1,000kg payload vehicle aims to have an approximately 320km range in urban use.

Commercial Group, operator of the UK’s largest commercial hydrogen-enabled vehicle fleet, will trial the vehicle – the first fully zero-emission vehicle in their hydrogen-powered fleet.

"We are tremendously excited to be involved in a project that is not just at the cutting edge of zero-emission vehicle development, but which promises to re-invigorate the UK’s drivetrain manufacturing industry, harnessing the country’s long-standing capability in this area,Commercial Group MD Arthur Hindmarch says.

"We believe that hydrogen powered transport solutions are a key part of our zero-emission future and are proud to be an early adopter."

Arcola will design a hydrogen-electric hybrid drivetrain, with a hydrogen fuel cell system providing extended range.

"This project builds on many years of Arcola Energy work developing and integrating hydrogen fuel cell systems in to vehicles ranging from lightweight two-seaters to double-decker buses," Arcola MD Dr Ben Todd says.

"Importantly, it will support expansion of Arcola Energy’s engineering services offering to include the whole hydrogen-electric hybrid drive train, from H2 tank to wheels.

"From our experience in supplying zero-emission vans to end-users, we are only too aware of the absence of a zero-emission 3.5T commercial vehicle in the marketplace.

"Thus, we are delighted to be working with other UK-based partners to deliver and commercially trial a scalable, practical approach to addressing this requirement."

Apart from buses, Arcola has helped develop the Microcab H2EV, a 3.5 metre prototype lightweight city car with a Lotus-engineered bonded-aluminium chassis, weighing just 60kg, and allowing for both passenger car and commercial vehicle body-styles.

Haydale will develop a 700bar hydrogen tank to suit the emerging refuelling standards and enable the range extension for the vehicle.

Also on the vans side, London package delivery firm Gnewt Cargo, gained £1.1 million to lease 33 electric Renault Kangoos.

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