Hydrogen fuel pioneer ULEMCo has developed a truck with a combustion engine powered entirely from zero-carbon hydrogen fuel. The converted Volvo FH16 vehicle will use what the company claims is the first zero-emission combustion engine.
The 100% hydrogen combustion truck has been designed to provide a demonstration of how hydrogen fuel can be deployed to decarbonize heavy goods vehicles efficiently and cost effectively. Unlike other hydrogen fueled vehicles, the MLE (Mega Low Emissions) 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, the MLE promises to produce none of the usual emissions from hydrocarbons that affect air quality – such as unburnt fuel, particulates and carbon monoxide. The company also claims that 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, while at the same time dramatically reducing the cost of change for customers.
The demonstration vehicle – which is the first all-hydrogen example – will have at least 305ps, and with 17kg of hydrogen on board, a range of 300km unloaded is expected. With hydrogen storage as the only additional hardware, a smaller reduction in payload is achieved.
“We are hugely excited about the potential for hydrogen fuel as a route to faster achievement of zero carbon emission in commercial vehicles”, said 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.”