UK’s ULEMCo – as part of Project ZeHyDA – is developing a new hydrogen combustion hybrid system for airport ground support vehicles.
According to The Engineer, ULEMCo in collaboration with Teesside International Airport, RAF Leeming, and Newcastle University, will convert a base aircraft tow tug vehicle to an electric hybrid running with a 100% hydrogen combustion engine.
The project is ULEMCo’s first mobile application of zero-emission hydrogen engine technology announced by the company in 2019 when it was tested for static generators.
ZeHyDA will enable the engine to work with an electric drivetrain, and is scheduled to be demonstrated as part of the Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub in ground support vehicles.
“We are delighted to be able to build on the success of our 100% hydrogen static genset engine with this mobile vehicle,” says ULEMCo managing director Amanda Lyne.
“Airport ground support vehicles are yet another niche application that can benefit from decarbonisation using hydrogen, without the delay of building a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure.”
Apart from the above mentioned activity, ULEMCo will also perform laboratory testing of a large engine conversion for 7.5 tonne ground support trucks that work at airports too.
The tests – assessed in collaboration with Newcastle University – should give the collaborators a more secure footing in showing that an engine of this size can be configured to meet duty cycle requirements while delivering zero carbon emissions.
“Decarbonising transport requires an ambitious approach from industry, government and academia”, says Newcastle professor Phil Blythe.
“The University will bring its world-leading expertise to address the research questions and knowledge gaps arising from the introduction of hydrogen fuel at RAF Leeming and Teesside International Airport,” says Blythe, who was formerly a Chief Scientific Adviser at UK’s Department for Transport.
Talking about the collaboration, RAF Leeming’s Group Captain Maurice Dixon said that: “The RAF is very pleased to be involved in this ground-breaking investigation into how hydrogen might play a part in supporting the RAF and wider MOD ambitions and targets to reduce our transport emissions.”
“It will be important as we investigate technologies to transition to zero emission vehicles fleets, become more fuel resilient, and understand the potential operational advantages and challenges of hydrogen use.”
“This project is a key element of the wider RAF Net Zero strategy and programme of activities: lessons learned and recommendations will be shared within the MOD.”
Image and content: ULEMCo/The Engineer