A new project aims to deliver two trials of hydrogen-powered coaches in France and Latvia
Coventry University has been selected to play a significant role in a €7m project that will help develop hydrogen-powered coaches. The Centre for Advance Low Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS) is a partner in the ‘CoacHyfied’ project, a 14-strong consortium led by higher education and engineering partners determined to develop new technology that could eliminate up to 1.4million tonnes of CO2 it says is generated by diesel-fuelled coaches in the UK alone.
C-ALPS, which is currently investing £2m into developing a world class hydrogen fuel cell development facility in Coventry, is responsible for the advanced thermal management system that will look to increase fuel efficiency in novel ways, including harnessing waste heat from the hydrogen fuel cell to power air conditioning.
“We are delighted to be part of CoacHyfied and to be able to broaden the international knowledge of hydrogen propulsion,” explained Dr Oliver Curnick, Associate Professor in Electrochemical Power Sources at C-ALPS. “It is anticipated that the findings of the project will be of benefit to coach manufacturers as well as future transport operators, who will need to find innovative solutions to support clean mass transport in the future.”
CoacHyfied aims to present solutions for the medium range regional and long-distance public and commercial transport sector by developing and operating six fuel cell coaches at two regions in Latvia and France in two to three-year demonstration phases. Two types of coaches will be investigated. One is dedicated to OEM-based new-build fuel cell coaches and the other will be the retrofitting of existing coaches in order to provide a second life use of environmentally outdated chassis.
Dr Curnick concluded: “There are currently around 13,000 diesel-fuelled coaches operating in the UK, each generating as much as 1,000g/km of carbon dioxide. We will seek to address the widely-accepted gap in research activity into hydrogen-fuelled coaches both domestically and in Europe. There is also the additional aim of giving a second life to diesel vehicles that would otherwise have been scrapped in the move to zero emissions, by converting older coaches from diesel to hydrogen.”
Part of the Institute for Future Transport & Cities, C-ALPS currently offers access to automotive format battery cell prototype manufacture, battery-cell and module testing and characterisation, system modelling, in-situ sensing and advanced diagnostics and expertise in next generation power electronic devices and sensors. The centre has already secured a number of major research project wins and is making significant progress towards self-sensing/healing battery cells, development of sensing for electric drive systems, advanced on-board diagnostics for battery, fuel cell and hybrid power systems.