DBERR Project - Hydrogen Vehicles

DBERR project on hydrogen vehicles (£1.3 million) has been awarded. Information on all of the partners involved can be found

This will develop Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle concept which is a fuel cell powered hybrid car, starting in 2007. It was featured on BBC Midlands Today on 06/03/08.

For further information, please contact: Professor Kevin Kendall

Hydrogen Taxi Cab Hits the Streets of Birmingham’s Campus

A zero-emission, environmentally friendly taxi cab powered by hydrogen has arrived on the University of Birmingham’s campus as part of the Science City Hydrogen energy project to discover how hydrogen powered cars might replace diesel and petrol vehicles and also create jobs in the region.

Microcab at Birmingham

The hydrogen taxi will be part of a fleet of 5 cars which will replace some of the University’s own fleet of vehicles so that engineering researchers can learn more about their efficiency and cost effectiveness.

New technologies such as this often face uncertainties at the commercialisation stage and they can also have a higher initial cost. Until they become more competitive on cost, it is difficult to put these new technologies into production on a larger scale. Professor Kevin Kendall, lead investigator from the Department of Chemical Engineering, is hoping to combat this problem and says, ‘By comparing the hydrogen powered vehicles directly with the University’s petrol and diesel fleet, we can find out how vehicles will need to be adapted in order to make hydrogen an attractive and cost effective option as a future fuel.

‘Once we have gathered enough information about the viability of hydrogen powered cars, we will be working alongside Birmingham City Council to establish whether a hydrogen powered fleet would be practicable for their waste, transport and other vehicles and how this transition could be managed.

‘In terms of the manufacture of these new vehicles we will also be looking at how we can develop a supply chain of companies and create jobs in the region as the hydrogen economy begins to take shape.’

As a direct result of this research, it is hoped that the public sector will start to buy into these new technologies, providing support to companies moving from the technology demonstration phase into the early stages of commercialisation.

This research is part of the Hydrogen Energy Project which has received funding of £6.3 million from Regional Development Agency Advantage West Midlands to develop the use of hydrogen energy as a green fuel and is part of the overall Birmingham Science City initiative.