The study, led by ULEMCo, released today (May 11) claims that requirements for flexibility, emergency response and water pumping can all be met by batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and a minimum of 8kg of onboard hydrogen fuel storage.

It also concluded that the incorporation of hydrogen could be met with the existing vehicle design, without compromising equipment installation, hoping the deployment of zero-emission fire engines could come soon.

ULEMCo believe the findings are important deployment of fully functional fire engines across all parts of the UK. Amanda Lyne, Managing Director of ULEMCo said, “The next steps with the project are to secure funding to build a prototype fire tender.

“We shall demonstrate the flexibility and technical capability of the hydrogen fuel cell range extension approach.”

Analysis of real-world fire appliances energy requirements, including EN1486 for four hours of water pumping energy, confirmed that 8kg of hydrogen with a Toyota Gen2 fuel cell range extender, would provide sufficient range extension for a 220kW battery designed base vehicle.

Additionally, H2 View understands, that the combination of stored energy in the batteries, and potential of rapid hydrogen refuelling, could ensure the vehicles are ‘always ready’, meeting rapid response requirements.

Councillor Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, commented, “This clever combination of battery power with hydrogen fuel cell range extender is excellent news for those of us who are optimistic that hydrogen could play an important role in the decarbonisation process.

“Moving heavy duty vehicles like fire engines away from fossil fuels is a difficult challenge, so this is an important step in exploring and advancing zero carbon solutions.”

Following the study, Oxfordshire Council is evaluating the logistics of establishing a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure with Oxfordshire Fire Service. With hopes that existing fire stations in the county would provide cost effective refuelling, as well as refuelling options for the rest of Oxfordshire’s public sector fleet.

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