Hydrogen fuel cell specialist Viritech is to play a major role in a programme to test the viability of fuel-cell versions of the Ford Transit, in collaboration with BP, Ocado, Cygnet-Texkimp and Cambustion
The £16.3 million, three-year programme to develop zero-emission light commercial vehicles, will be part-funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).
Viritech will develop hydrogen pressure vessels using its proprietary integrated mounting system which reduces the cost and weight of fitting hydrogen pressure vessels to a vehicle.
Current pressure vessels use external attachments which add weight, complexity and cost.
However, Viritech says its Graph-Pro design, integrates the mountings into the structure of the pressure vessel, so they can be bolted directly to the chassis.
Its pressure vessel will be manufactured in the UK, and developed for volume manufacturing as FCHEVs become mainstream later this decade.
In addition, Ford will test Viritech’s Tri-Volt system, which represents a radically different approach to the architecture of hydrogen fuel cell powertrains.
Unlike other systems which use fuel cells to charge batteries to extend their range, Tri-VoltTM uses the fuel cell as the prime mover when a vehicle is at a steady speed, and uses very small, high C-rate batteries to manage power during transient conditions such as pulling away from rest or braking.
Timothy Lyons, CEO of Viritech said, “Believing that fuel cell hydrogen electric vehicles (FCHEVs) will play a vital role in decarbonising commercial vehicles, and that they will become a vital contributor to Sustainable Transportation, Viritech is proud to be at the forefront of the development of this critical technology.
“This will be a major demonstration of Viritech’s ground-breaking technology and an important opportunity to demonstrate the efficiency and relevance of FCHEVs.”