Hydrogen fuel-cell bus project wins Niche Vehicle Network funding
Hydrogen fuel-cell bus project wins Niche Vehicle Network funding
author Added by FuelCellsWorks, September 26, 2016

Arcola Energy, Alexander Dennis and Warwick Manufacturing Group receive £125,000

Mark Moran--A project to build a hybrid fuel-cell double-decker bus has received £150,000 from a competition run by the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN). The project to create a range-extended electric bus is being led by Arcola Energy, which is working with partners Alexander Dennis and Warwick Manufacturing Group.

The vehicle will be a proof of concept for a zero operational emission bus with performance suitable for urban and extra-urban routes. The project team believes the hydrogen fuel-cell range-extended bus will address air quality issues and also reduce CO2 levels in cities such as London and Singapore, where double-deckers are common.

The bus project was among the winners of a £2.3m in funding for low carbon vehicle development and demonstration projects in the low volume vehicle manufacturing sector. Over 50 businesses received grant funding from NVN, which runs competitions for R&D and supply chain development with support from Innovate UK, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

The competition winners were announced at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) Show, which was held at Millbrook Proving Grounds in Bedfordshire. Other winning projects include:

  • The investigation of the technical and commercial feasibility of a rapid and cost effective composite processing technology for niche vehicle applications
  • The development of novel carbon/flax hybrid composite components to reduce the weight, cost, NVH and environmental impact of vehicle body structures
  • The creation of a proof of concept fuel-efficient solution for small low cost leisure vehicles
  • The development and testing of a novel structured baffle exhaust system for niche military vehicles
  • A proof of concept modular hybrid electric drivetrain specifically for adoption within the niche vehicle sector
  • The demonstration of a prototype turbo-expansion Air Charge Cooling system
  • The design, manufacture and demonstration of an affordable composite chassis
  • The creation of a “smart” low carbon powertrain and connected vehicle technology
  • The development of hybrid material assemblies for lightweight chassis
  • The manufacture of a hybrid driveline system for vehicles with manual gearboxes

All of the projects will receive 50% of their project costs, and cover the balance of the project costs with their own resources. The projects are collaborative between at least three UK-based companies active in the low carbon vehicle technology sector.

Up to £1.3m was available for early market low carbon technology demonstration projects and with a further £1m to take existing projects concepts from demonstration to production readiness.

Simon Edmonds, director of manufacturing and materials at Innovate UK, said: “Our continued support for the Niche Vehicle Networks’ R&D programme with our partners at OLEV and the Advanced Propulsion Centre is an important part of our overall programme of activity for low carbon vehicles. Congratulations to this year’s winning companies, many of whom are showcasing their technologies at this year’s LCV 2016.”

Programme manager for the Network, Rob Anderson, said: “Our R&D programme plays unique role in supporting UK SME-led vehicle innovation, which results in transformative technologies that can be applied to both the niche and volume vehicle sectors.”

The NVN is an association of 800 niche vehicle manufactures, specialist technology and supply chain companies. The network offers a forum for members to collaborate and share knowledge. It has been leading work in the UK on the adoption of lightweight materials and advanced low carbon powertrains. The network is managed by Cenex, a low carbon vehicle technology consultancy that also runs the LCV event.