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Converting to hydrogen

Date: 16 February 2010

A hydrogen-fuelled conversion kit from Revolve Technologies is being targeted at return-to-base operations for commercial vehicle fleets.

The company, formally the UK arm of Roush Industries, has already secured a deal for two Ford Transits, converted to operate a hydrogen-fed petrol engine, to be run by the Post Office in Stornaway, Scotland.

Paul Turner, technical director, revealed that Revolve has the capacity to convert and supply up to 20 vehicles a month. "We are working with fleet operators, and also in discussions with local authorities regarding lease schemes for the vehicles," he said. "The biggest stumbling block at the moment is the refuelling infrastructure."

The vans are powered by a 2.3-litre petrol engine, and three underfloor-mounted tanks filled with compressed hydrogen gas, pressurised to 350bar. A converted Transit will offer a range of up to 190km and Turner has calculated that in urban use, the vehicle will consume hydrogen at a rate of around 31g/km. While the company admits there is a slight decrease in performance compared with petrol power, it is barely noticeable at 30mph, as it is exaggerated as the speed increases.

Clearly a green, not cost-effective fleet solution, Revolve is quoting conversion prices of £45,000 a van.