ULEMCo, provider of low emission technology, has converted a VOLVO FH16 vehicle into what is believed to be the first ‘zero’ emission combustion engine truck in the world.

The 100% hydrogen (H2) combustion truck, with mega low emissions (MLE), is designed to provide a dramatic demonstration of how H2 fuel can be deployed to decarbonise heavy goods vehicles efficiently and cost effectively.

Unlike other H2 fuelled vehicles, the MGL truck uses H2 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, carbon monoxide – and 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.

By applying ULEMCo’s knowledge of the efficient combustion of H2 and the use of H2 fuel directly in combustion engines, a significant simplification of the vehicle emission control systems can be achieved. 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 H2 dual-fuel, and these are in current active service around the UK. The demonstration vehicle will be the first total H2 example, will have at least 300HP, and with 17kg of H2 on board, a range of just less than 300 km unloaded is expected. As H2 storage is the only additional hardware, a smaller reduction in payload is experienced than with other low emission approaches.

Amanda Lyne, CEO of ULEMCo, said, “We are hugely excited about the potential for H2 fuel as a route to faster achievement of zero carbon emission in commercial vehicles.’

She continued, “With this MLE demonstrator, co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, we are showing that 100% H2 fuel in combustion engines is a practical and cost-effective option. It sits well alongside the H2 dual-fuel conversions that we have already implemented commercially.”

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Zero emission combustion engine truck