HySPERT project explores hydrogen fire trucks

1 min read

A UK project is underway to design a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain for heavy vehicles including bin trucks and fire engines.

HySPERT (HYdrogen Special Purpose Electric vehicle platform for Refuse collection and fire Trucks), will be led by Liverpool-based ULEMCo, which specialises in the conversion of commercial vehicles to hydrogen power. In partnership with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and its Fire and Rescue Service, ULEMCo will develop a design for a zero-emissions fire truck that can operate continuously for up to 40 hours.

“Hydrogen could play an important role in our efforts to decarbonise, especially where battery powered electrification is challenging in heavy duty vehicles like fire engines,” said Pete Sudbury, OCC’s cabinet member for Climate Change Delivery & Environment. “OCC’s Fire & Rescue Service will provide operational insight while the council’s unique Innovation Hub along with Climate Action team will work with ULEMCo to facilitate the project.”

The eight-month project is being funded via Innovate UK under the Transition to Zero Emission programme. In the first stage, the partners will develop an understanding of the specific duty cycles for emergency service vehicles that need 24/7 readiness, as well as enough energy on board for four to 40 hours continuous running. ULEMCo will then deliver a full specification and detailed engineered design before a physical prototype is built.

“We are excited to be working on this important initiative to plan the future of specialised utility vehicles such as fire tenders,” said Amanda Lyne, managing director of ULEMCo. “Hydrogen has tremendous potential for enabling zero emission vehicles in the short term.”

Alongside the study, the OCC will develop a plan for the hydrogen refuelling requirements across Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, and explore how this fits with the wider plans to develop a hydrogen infrastructure across the county.