01 September 2020

Planned new test facility at Ricardo will help bring forward the development of hydrogen powered vehicles as an emission-free and more environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuel use.

The potential for hydrogen-fuelled engines as an alternative clean technology where batteries are not suitable, is gaining momentum with vehicle manufacturers across mainland Europe and the UK. Unlike current fossil fuels, hydrogen combustion does not generate any tailpipe CO2, whilst offering a potentially rapid route to implementation – it is therefore a key part of both Ricardo and Coast2Capitals technology roadmaps for cleaner mobility.

At present, facilities to test and develop engines using hydrogen are extremely rare, even in mainland Europe. For this reason Ricardo has developed a plan to modify one of its existing conventional engine test cells at its Shoreham Technical Centre in West Sussex as a hydrogen engine development facility to support the development of this exciting technology in a fast, cost-effective and timely manner. 

To enable the development of this planned new facility, Ricardo applied for funding from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership’s allocation granted from the UK Government’s overarching Getting Building Fund, which is aimed at stimulating jobs and economic recovery across the UK by supporting local ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects. Ricardo has been notified of the provisional award of funding from Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, with the final decision awaiting formal ratification by Government later in 2020.

Subject to the formal award of funding, the project will provide a hydrogen generation, storage and transmission infrastructure designed to supply pressurised gas to an enhanced engine development test facility which can be used for research and development tests on hydrogen-fuelled engines and powertrains. 
The facility could help to establish the South East of England as a centre for alternative energy development, both protect and grow high-skill technical employment on the south coast, and help the region in its economic recovery from COVID-19.

This project is subject to full business case submission and approvals via relevant governance arrangements.

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