Queen’s researchers work on £11.2m project to develop next generation of hydrogen buses

World-leading researchers at Queen’s are collaborating with Northern Ireland industry experts to develop the next generation of single and double deck hydrogen buses, helping in the global fight against climate change.

By Claire Cartmill
Thursday, 10th June 2021, 2:00 pm

World-leading researchers at Queen’s are collaborating with Northern Ireland industry experts to develop the next generation of single and double deck hydrogen buses, helping in the global fight against climate change.

If the UK bus sector moved to zero emission technologies, there is the potential to prevent the release of 3.2 million tonnes of CO2 and avoid nearly 4,000 million litres of diesel imports over the next 10 years.

The adoption of hydrogen technologies will be a key part of achieving these goals.

The £11.2m project will see future generations of hydrogen buses on the UK roads

The Queen’s researchers, based in the Bamford Technology and Engineering Centre (WTECH) Research Centre and the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, are part of an international team who are working on the £11.2m project, partly funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre, to help come up with the necessary technology to help make this happen.

The project brings £1.2m of funding direct to Queen’s and will create high value research jobs, cementing the university’s position as a world-leading research centre for heavy duty hydrogen powertrain technologies.

Longer term the project will lead to the development of a Centre of Excellence in Zero-Emissions Hydrogen Technology in Ballymena, as well as generating new jobs and supporting the development of skills for industry partners such as Wrightbus, Ryse Hydrogen, Grayson Thermal Systems and Translink.

Commenting on the new project, Dr Juliana Early from the WTECH Research Centre highlighted the importance of their research on hydrogen buses to support and tackle the global climate change issues.

She continued: “At Queen’s we are delighted to be kick-starting this new project and collaborating with key industry partners to develop innovative and crucial global transport solutions.

“The funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) allows us to take forward research which will ultimately help reduce emissions but it will also give our economy a welcome boost in terms of funding and jobs.

“Within the WTECH Research Centre, we are essentially training the next generation of experts to develop single and double deck hydrogen bus technologies, and this is critical in responding to the growing calls for our society to move towards a net-zero future.

“This project places Queen’s University and Northern Ireland in a very strong position to become a market leader in the hydrogen sector.”

Since its foundation in 2013, The Advanced Propulsion Centre has collaborated with UK government, the automotive industry and academia to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, supporting the transition to deliver net-zero emission vehicles.

Praising the programme for bringing together universities and the industry Jon Beasley, Business Development and Programmes Director at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, continued: “We are delighted to be supporting Queen’s with this vital work to advance the development of innovative powertrains for buses. It demonstrates the importance of continued collaboration between universities and industry to further accelerate the automotive sector’s transition to a net-zero future and will enable the UK to apply its world-class innovation and experience in decarbonisation of vehicles across the supply chain in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

Director of Engineering at Wrightbus, Dr Robert Best also outlined the company’s commitment to enhancing R&D to protect and generate local employment and the economy.

He concluded: “Wrightbus has a long standing collaborative research relationship with Queen’s University, and critical projects of this type are essential to stimulate R&D, generate employment and reinforce knowledge transfers.”

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