Composites engineering specialist Permali has won UK government funding to develop a lightweight composite solution, which is aimed at allowing existing diesel-powered buses to be retrofitted with zero-emission hydrogen powertrains.
According to the company, its R&D team, located at its main site in Gloucester, will be working on this development project in collaboration with hydrogen and fuel cell specialist company Arcola Energy and the UK National Composites Centre (NCC). The partnership is initially aimed at buses, but the new technology concept should be transferable to a wider range of vehicles, such as heavy-duty goods vehicles, trains and even aircraft. The funding has been awarded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) through the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN).
Permali says it will work in close collaboration with the NCC to design and manufacture the proof of concept system. Arcola Energy will integrate and test the system with hydrogen cylinders to achieve regulatory compliance and fit the new system to a double decker bus.
The project focus, says Permali, will be on the development and production of a low-cost, lightweight composite system which will structurally support the hydrogen fuel cylinders.
The target for the development team is to halve the weight of the current metallic hydrogen fuel tank structure and to increase energy storage by 25%, while still providing the required structural performance to meet the vehicle road safety standards.