A £7.8m project being developed by Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue, in partnership with engineering firm ULEMCo, has been awarded £3.9m by the government. In a move away from fossil fuels, the project is working to create a way for emergency vehicles to be powered by hydrogen.
The scheme is part of a wider effort from the county council to reduce its operational emissions to net zero carbon by 2030.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, Pete Sudbury reiterated the 2030 target: “hydrogen could play an important role in our efforts to decarbonise. I’m delighted that we are partnering with ULEMCo on this important step in exploring and advancing zero carbon solutions.”
ULEMCo and the council are developing a hydrogen fuel cell that could be used by a range of specialist vehicles; fire engines, ambulances and street sweepers are among those part of the initiative.
Chief Officer for Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service, Rob MacDougall commented that “heavy fire engines pose a particular challenge and we feel that hydrogen powered fuel cells can play a promising role in delivering on the county’s climate action ambitions.”
Up until now, the project, announced in 2021, has only been in the research phase. Now, with the funding awarded, the project will be able to continue to move forward and potentially develop a prototype vehicle.