Hydrogen-powered fire engines planned by ULEMCOULEMCo, which is pioneering hydrogen-powered utility vehicles, has been awarded government funding to produce a design for fire engines.

Working with Oxfordshire County Council’s  Fire and Rescue Service, ULEMCo will design the fuel cell electric powertrain configuration for zero emission fire appliances.

Named HySPERT – for HYdrogen Special Purpose Electric vehicle platform for Refuse collection and fire Trucks – the work is planned to take eight months.

The funding was secured from Innovate UK under the Transition to Zero Emission programme. In the first stage of the project, the partners will develop a deep understanding of the specific duty cycles for emergency service vehicles that need 24/7 readiness, and enough energy on board for four to 40 hours continuous running.

Fire services use this type of vehicle in a variety of use scenarios, both urban and rural.

The work will involve creating a thorough understanding and a detailed model of the current energy requirement. This will include the energy needed to pump water for a minimum of four hours, as well as the optimal range requirement. The test process will gather real world data based on the performance of an OEM manufactured fuel cell over the course of the project.

ULEMCo will design the optimised fuel cell electric powertrain for the Fire and Rescue Service, with the key output being a full specification and detailed engineered design for a prototype vehicle. This is a precursor to the next stage of development, which will involve the physical building of the prototype. 

“We are excited to be working on this important initiative to plan the future of specialised utility vehicles such as fire tenders”, says Amanda Lyne, Managing Director of ULEMCo.