NCC launches UK hydrogen supply chain project

The UK’s National Composites Centre (NCC) and Arcola Energy, which makes hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) electric powertrains, have formed a project aimed at accelerating the decarbonization of heavy-duty vehicles.

The NCC and Arcola plan to assess the UK’s hydrogen supply chain capability through a series of surveys in order to develop a roadmap for future R&D and investment needs. The final report will be available in April 2021, says the NCC.

‘The heavy-duty vehicle sector is a critical area that requires decarbonization but is still in the early stages of development and deployment,’ said Richard Kemp-Harper, strategy director, Arcola Energy. ‘Across the supply chain in this sector, there are specific technical requirements that present an innovation opportunity for UK suppliers to develop capability and enter this new market for zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles.’

According to the NCC, the current UK market for heavy-duty vehicles, including trucks and buses, is approximately 40,000 per year, all of which are expected to switch to zero emissions in the next 15-20 years. Of this, fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) could take between 25% to 50% of the market segment.

The project team has identified a set of important components to review, including large-scale on-board hydrogen storage, fuel cell systems, high power density battery systems, heavy-duty traction motors and integrated power electronics.

‘We’re aiming to not only identify the large number of innovative companies working across the supply chain whose products and technologies could help the UK fulfil its potential in this area, but also establish where further research and development is required to help the industry meet its zero-emissions targets,’ said Ali Valiyff, land transport, NCC.

‘With the push for zero emission vehicles by 2030, the UK stands ideally placed to lead the world for hydrogen and electric vehicle development,’ said Alan Banks, UK lightweight innovations manager at Ford. ‘This work will link the automotive, aerospace, rail, marine and domestic sectors together to help solve a common problem and make UK PLC a dominant global player.’

This story uses material from the NCC, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.