Image 2021 02 15 T11 20 24

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Plans for UK's first hydrogen ambulance announced

Jamal Niaz morson news

Image 2021 02 15 T11 20 24

​Plans for the UK’s first zero-emission, hydrogen-powered ambulance have been revealed with the initial prototype aimed to be ready by autumn.

UK hydrogen fuel pioneer, ULEMCO is collaborating with the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust (LAS) and several other manufacturing partners on the project named ZERRO (Zero Emission Rapid Response Operations).

A design for the ambulance has been agreed on, with the project now in the prototype building stage, which features a hydrogen fuel cell range extender with an electric drive, low frame chassis, and a lightweight ambulance body designed and manufactured by Woodall Nicholson Group’s Mellor, Promech Technologies and VCS Limited.

The team working on the project worked in line with CEN (The EU standard for ambulances) and had to overcome several design challenges. These included ensuring there was enough internal space to allow for upright standing, building the hydrogen system into the roof of the vehicle, and implementing a low-access floor removing the need for patient lifting equipment. 

The importance of hydrogen in the UK government's upcoming 'green industrial revolution' is significant, with targets for the UK's first hydrogen town also in place. This is another step in the right direction towards net zero and decarbonisation.

 Amanda Lyne, managing director of ULEMCo stated:

 “Given the energy need of the NHS ambulance duty cycle, it seems clear that hydrogen fuel is needed to provide both the range and vehicle availability for emergency response requirements”

 She continued:

“Working with Mellor, Promech Technologies and VCS Limited, we have the advantage of designing a bespoke ambulance based on their current battery technology vehicle platform. This has enabled us to apply our capability in integrating hydrogen fuel cell range extension systems, and to prove that this will be a really viable and practical solution for NHS fleets across the UK.”

Chris Rutherford, Head of Fleet Strategy & Transformation at LAS added:

“This project is a key part of our strategy for a zero-emission fleet, to support the NHS aim to be the world’s first net-zero national health service, and to meet or exceed the clean air requirements in London.”

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