Carbon emissions from vehicles with larger engines such as buses, waste collection lorries and fire engines have become a commonly identified source of hard-to-tackle emissions in public sector net zero plans. The approach to take is less obvious and more challenging, due to the greater engine size and energy requirement.
The Challenge Statement issued by Innovate UK KTN called for innovative solutions for local authority fleets to provide affordable technology to decarbonise vehicles with large engines. The organisations and ideas coming forward that were shortlisted through the process are listed below.
- Electra – Conversion solution to swap over existing fleet from diesel to electric.
- Magtec – Full electric or hybrid retrofit – has proven capability and at scale. Can also do diesel trains.
- Ricardo – A fuel-cell retrofit program for a range of vehicles. Possibility to do a trial with one vehicle.
- ULEMCo – Hydrogen dual fuel solution proposing to add hydrogen tanks onto existing fleet with no engine modification. Carbon saving through diesel displacement. Can currently reduce carbon emissions if the hydrogen is produced from a renewable source.
The key project developed through this Innovation Exchange was a feasibility study by Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue, funded by Innovate UK. This used the idea put forward by hydrogen transport solutions specialists ULEMCo. The study explored how a combination of hydrogen fuel cells and battery energy storage could be provide the solution for a fleet of zero-emission fire engines for the county. A case study can be accessed below. The government has now awarded ULEMCo £3.9 million to develop the project and produce a prototype. The project is worth £7.8 million, with industry matching the government’s financial contribution.