ULEMCo, the ultra-low emissions vehicle company championing the conversion of diesel vehicles for hydrogen fuelling, has had its converted vehicles verified as achieving the definitions of ultra-low status by the VCA, the UK Vehicle Type Approval authority.
Ford Transit vans retrofitted with ULEMCo’s hydrogen gas system achieved 59g/km CO2 under test, representing a 70% reduction on the unconverted equivalent vehicle. Tailpipe emissions also showed a 40% reduction in harmful NOx.
The news will be welcome to fleet operators looking for a route to reduce dramatically the impact of their vehicles on air quality and climate change. It is hoped that the hydrogen equipped vehicles will be exempt from the London Congestion Charge.
Using the dual fuel conversion, vehicles automatically switch to diesel fuel when the store of hydrogen is used up, extending their total range to as much as 700 miles between fill ups. Importantly, the conversion kit takes up no valuable cargo space as it fits underneath the vehicle. The van’s driving performance is not affected.
A further benefit is that emissions using hydrogen fuel have a zero particulate level, extending the time needed between DPF cycles, particularly when the vehicle is used for typical short, stop/start duties.
The conversion equipment is designed to be fitted to standard commercial vans, and can be switched between vehicles as fleets are updated. The UK has a global lead in development of this technology, and ULEMCo was spun out of Revolve Technologies to commercialise the IP and know how built up from several years of research, some of it funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
While the major reason for adopting the system is to reduce emissions from diesel engines, part of the cost will be offset by lower running costs from the more efficient hydrogen-fuelled engines, and other reduced operating costs. Plans are in place to introduce a network of hydrogen refilling stations as use of the fuel takes off.
CEO of ULEMCo, Amanda Lyne said: “We are delighted that our hydrogen powered vans meet the requirements of the VCA. The way is now open for us to roll out the system to fleet operators looking to dramatically reduce their diesel emissions, in line with the overall UK commitment to reducing the impact on air quality and climate change.”
ULEMCo has been supported on a number of occasions by the Government’s technology experts at Innovate UK, and ULEMCo and its partners already support a fleet of 20 vehicles across a range of hydrogen hubs in the UK.