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Hydrogen powers first zero emission combustion engine truck

ULEMCo will demonstrate the world’s first zero emission combustion engine truck later this year. Based on a modified Volvo FH16, the Mega Low Emission (MLE) vehicle is powered by carbon-free hydrogen. The hydrogen fuel specialist is hoping the exercise will demonstrate the effectiveness of hydrogen as a fuel for heavy haulage.

Unlike other ‘hydrogen fuelled’ vehicles, the MLE truck uses hydrogen to power the vehicle using a combustion engine rather than via fuel cells and an electric motor. However, in common with fuel cell versions, there will be none of the usual emissions from hydrocarbons that impact on air quality – such as unburnt fuel, particulates or carbon monoxide -so the NOx levels will be immeasurably low. ULEMCo believes that using conventional engines and existing truck designs, rather than the full transformation needed for electrification, the time frame to the target of zero carbon emissions can be shortened significantly, at the same time dramatically reducing the cost of the change for customers.

Using a modified conventional engine, the powertrain cost is minimised and the company is able to demonstrate that zero emissions can be achieved in commercial vehicles at an affordable cost. ULEMCo has converted many vehicles from diesel to hydrogen dual-fuel, and these are in current active service around the UK. The demonstration vehicle will be the first all-hydrogen example, will have at least 300HP, and with 17Kg of hydrogen on board, a range of 180 miles.

“We are hugely excited about the potential for hydrogen fuel as a route to faster achievement of zero carbon emission in commercial vehicles”, says Amanda Lyne, CEO of ULEMCo. “With this MLE demonstrator, co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, we are showing that 100% hydrogen fuel in combustion engines is a practical and cost effective option.

It sits well alongside the hydrogen dual-fuel conversions that we have already implemented commercially.”

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