C-ALPS targets hydrogen fuel cell opportunities with £2m new lab investment

Oliver Curnick

Oliver Curnick

Over £2m is being invested into developing a 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 £50m research centre that was 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 and feature advanced electrochemical diagnostics for detailed characterisation of application-scale fuel cells and stacks.

Construction and fit-out will be completed by late August 2021 and will give researchers state-of-the-art facilities to undertake fundamental and collaborative applied research with industry.

“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,” explained Simon Shepherd, Director of C-ALPS.

“Our latest investments strengthen our existing hydrogen energy research capabilities and give us the facility to support partners in both fuel cell and hydrogen generation R&D and fuel cell application projects.”

He continued: “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.

“Capacity and capability are significantly expanded with these new investments from the University. Researchers, professors and engineering staff will be employed in the new labs and test cells and, as the project portfolio continues to grow, this is expected to create a number of new positions within the team.”