Ultra Clean Air Promised To China By UK-Led Hydrogen Fuel Project

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Shanghai, CHina by Thomas Depenbusch via flickr

A UK company, ULEMCo, has been chosen to lead a collaborative project that has promised to deliver significant carbon reduction and ultra-low air quality emissions for thousands of vehicles in China in the next 10 years.

Liverpool based ULEMCo, arguably the UK’s most experienced integrator of H2 systems for transport, has received grant funding via Innovate UK from the cross Government Newton Fund. The Fund uses science and innovation partnerships to promote the economic development and welfare of countries overseas.

This £2 million business-led, 24 month project will investigate the practical challenges of developing mass market hydrogen fuelled vehicles for China, especially commercial vehicles. It will explore novel routes to ‘green’ hydrogen production, and relevant hydrogen storage approaches designed to meet the specific market challenges in China.

ULEMCo will work with partners the University of Liverpool (UoL) and two Chinese organisations: the Wuhan New Energy Institute (WNEI) of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) and Hubei Swan Coatings, a premier Chinese business.

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    The Chinese government has prioritised the need to decarbonise energy and address air quality problems through the use of hydrogen energy from renewables and into vehicles. Hydrogen energy addresses the improved air quality and decarbonisation challenges for energy supply in China.

    The project has been awarded funding by the Newton Fund: China-UK Research and Innovation Bridges Competition 2015, and incorporates critical development work on renewable generation technologies, through hydrogen storage and then use of hydrogen fuel in vehicles – all aimed at lower cost, greater practicality, ultra-lower emissions and carbon reduction.

    The project will optimise photo-catalysts using high throughput robotics at the UoL, in collaboration with HUST, into a scaled production system capable of making significant volumes of hydrogen vehicle fuel. It will also develop high surface area materials for the storage of this hydrogen and its incorporation into purpose designed on-board fuel storage. ULEMCo will use its capability for safe conversion of commercial vehicles into dual fuel hydrogen / diesel combustion, and develop their approach for a better than EURO VI emission standard vehicle suitable for Chinese markets. The project will combine a new engine control approach, hydrogen selective catalysts and the low cost storage system into a mass production retrofit conversion kit for light and heavy duty commercial vehicles.

    “This is a real opportunity to work with excellent research partners both here and in China…”, said Paul Turner, Technical Director of ULEMCo, “… as well as opening up a potentially huge market for our commercial dual fuel approach in China. More broadly, this is a real benefit to the UK in the post-Brexit days ahead.