Hydrogen fuel cell development in Coventry secures £2 million funding

Photo shows: Test cells being upgraded and equipped for Hydrogen fuel cell and e-drive testing
C-ALPS Infrastructure[3]

More than £2 million is being invested into developing a world class hydrogen fuel cell development facility in Coventry University, as the UK looks to lead the globe with electrified propulsion systems.

The Centre for Advanced Low-Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS), which works with a number of industrial partners, has pressed the button on work that will create a dedicated 100sq metre Hydrogen Fuel Cell lab and comprehensive upgrade of its powertrain cells for running with hydrogen fuel.

The new facilities will be housed inside the £50 million research centre opened in 2018 and will feature a fully equipped laboratory alongside the upgraded test cells for fuel cell and electrolyser system, stack and cell-level testing and diagnostic/post-mortem work.

There will be areas for instrumenting and commissioning electric drive and fuel cell systems and equipment for environmental testing of powertrain components and systems from -40° to +120°

This investment will complement C-ALPS’ bespoke fuel cell test stands, which have been developed in-house.

Construction and fit-out will be completed by late August 2021.

Simon Shepherd, Director of C-ALPS, said:“Sustainable electric propulsion and mobile energy storage solutions are essential in decarbonising the transport sector and improving air quality. Hydrogen, as a fuel, will almost certainly play a significant role in this transition.

“There is massive interest in this area of electrification and adoption of these technologies is growing extremely fast in Europe and Asia, mainly from stakeholders involved in heavy-duty commercial vehicles, bus and coach, marine, rail transport and aerospace applications.”

The Centre for Advanced Low-Carbon Propulsion Systems has been working with the transport sector to create cleaner mobility and develop the supply chain so that it can deliver rapidly developing ‘enabling’ technologies around battery systems, fuel cell development, power electronics and electric drive systems.

The facility, which was initially co-funded by international engineering consultancy FEV, focuses on strong industry and academic collaboration to create cutting-edge research, future engineering leaders and powertrain solutions that will drive economic growth and minimise environmental impact.

C-ALPS 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.

Oliver Curnick, Associate Professor at C-ALPS and technical lead on Hydrogen within the Group, added: “What makes us unique within the UK is our mix of component and system level expertise from both academic and industrial backgrounds – all geared towards applied research which enables our industrial partners to meet the challenges facing the transport sectors.

“Understanding both the science behind batteries, fuel cells and electric drives and the engineering which delivers them into a vehicle system, means that commercial partners can approach us with confidence that we can both understand the challenges they face and work with them to create truly innovate solutions.

“The latest investment is a massive step forward and a real show of commitment from Coventry University and our ambition to help the UK lead the world in clean mobility.”