Multi-million-pound investment put into green energy in Coventry

Simon Shepherd, Director of the C-ALPS
X The Business Desk

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One of the UK’s largest hydrogen fuel cell testing facilities has been completed in Coventry.

Coventry University’s Centre for Advanced Low-Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS) has spent more than £2m in creating the 100 sq metre lab and hydrogen compound.

This will allow the facility to develop hydrogen fuel cell-based powertrains through research and commercial contracts.

The project also includes the upgrade of powertrain test cells for running with hydrogen fuel systems. The £50m research centre is now setting its sights on generating over £3m of projects every year.

Simon Shepherd, Director of the C-ALPS, said: “There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about hydrogen power versus battery power and I don’t think it’s a constructive debate; if we are going to achieve the UK’s target of being Net-Zero by 2050, we are going to need a blend of emerging clean technologies to meet the broad demands of the transport sector.

“Working in a centre with expertise across batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and super-capacitors not only gives us deep insights into the relative attributes and challenges in each technology, but it also provides unique opportunities for innovation and crossover between these disciplines.”

C-ALPS says it’s been working with the transport sector to create cleaner mobility and deliver technologies around battery systems, fuel cell development, power electronics and electric drive systems.

C-ALPS has already secured over £3m of major research project wins and is making significant progress in self-sensing/healing battery cells, development of sensing for electric drive systems, advanced on-board diagnostics for battery, fuel cell and hybrid power systems.

Global automotive engineering consultancy FEV is currently co-funding several UK and European research projects and PhDs, including research in fuel cell systems.

The initial investment of Coventry University in hydrogen facilities will be matched by FEV through plans to upgrade two further test cells to be capable of hydrogen-based powertrain testing at higher power levels.

Oliver Curnick, Associate Professor at C-ALPS and technical lead on Hydrogen, said: “This latest investment in creating one of the largest hydrogen testing capabilities in the UK is a real show of commitment by Coventry University and puts us in an excellent position to gain a strong footing in the world of clean mobility.

“Decarbonising transport – in all of its different forms – is going to take multiple solutions and there is definitely a role for hydrogen to play in supporting the powertrain requirements of larger vehicles, such as coaches, lorries, ships and aircraft.