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UK Hydrogen Vehicles Project

Roush Technologies is to adapt existing internal combustion-engines in vehicles, and research the development of new power units, to utilise hydrogen fuel.

The project will be with ITM Power plc and the collaboration agreement is expected to accelerate CO2-free, hydrogen-fuelled commercial vehicles operating in Britain.

ITM will provide the refuelling solution by enabling vehicle operators to generate their own hydrogen fuel. Using a patented electrolyser, due to enter production at ITM’s special facility in Sheffield later this year, it is possible to make hydrogen fuel wherever there is a source of electricity and water. The advances in electrolysis technology that ITM has achieved address the hydrogen infrastructure issue by using the already developed electricity and water distribution network.

The electrolyser can produce hydrogen from water and any source of electricity including off-peak or renewable energy – electricity generated by wind, wave or solar power. Unlike petrol or diesel, when hydrogen burns, it releases no CO2, merely water vapour.

Electrolysers work by converting water and electricity into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen produced can be used as a replacement for fossil fuels and facilitate zero carbon domestic housing and pollution free motoring.

This agreement will enable both parties to jointly offer a complete package of hydrogen refuelling systems and hydrogen vehicles to customers. It is anticipated that first sales will be to large commercial or local government organisations that wish to demonstrate a commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Marketing to third parties will commence as soon as possible.

ITM Power is a developer of low-cost hydrogen technologies. The Company has developed new materials and processes that dramatically reduce the cost of fuel cells and electrolysers. The patented membrane materials used in the devices have higher performance and are 1% of the cost of the industry standard materials.

Jim Heathcote, CEO ITM Power, said: “This is a significant co-operative agreement between two companies who are committed to bringing practical hydrogen power into the automotive market place within a dramatically reduced timeframe. Whilst it initially involves the commercial vehicle sector, it will demonstrate the wider potential of hydrogen technology to help cut CO2 emissions and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Andrew Williams, Executive Chairman of Roush Technologies, added: “Both our companies recognise that bringing emission-free energy technologies forward and to market requires an integrated approach. This involves the production and supply chain for the fuel – together with the development and applications engineering which enables its effective usage.”

Roush Technologies is one of Europe’s leading providers of advanced design and engineering services, specialising in the development of powertrains and related systems. It serves a diverse portfolio of multi-tier automotive and non-automotive clients, across a broad spectrum of industries including car and commercial vehicle, transportation, infrastructure, agriculture, defence and energy.