Hydrogen Fuel Cell Retrofit

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Retrofit

Making hydrogen fuel cell retrofits a reality

Fleet owners who are looking to decarbonise their operations whilst avoiding early vehicle replacement are looking to Ricardo for hydrogen retrofit expertise. 

Stagecoach, one of the UK's main public transport operators together with Ricardo have recently been announced as funding  competition winners for the Hydrogen Transport Hub Demonstration competition, part of the Tees Valley Hydrogen Hub.  The competition sees funding secured to build a demonstrator vehicle to be ready from February 2022.  Ricardo will develop a scalable, modular solution, enabling installation, with minimal adaption, to multiple single and double decker platforms. The modular concept may also be saleable as a ‘new fuel cell’ module to coach builders across the world enabling them to develop new fuel cell buses by taking a rolling chassis and applying their coach build body alongside the modular fuel cell solution.

Ricardo retrofit of hydrogen fuel cells onto buses
There are over 38,000 buses in the UK. 98% are diesel powered and 50% are under 8 years old. The need for a retrofit solution to decarbonise transport and clean up city air is clear.

National and Local Government Authorities across the UK are bringing forward their zero emissions targets to 2030. This creates challenges for operators who, while still grappling with the financial challenges of the global pandemic, are committed to transitioning to zero emission vehicles.

The Hydrogen Transport Hub Demonstration competition funding enables Ricardo to demonstrate and promote hydrogen fuel cell retrofit capabilities for buses to a global audience. The demonstrator shows the environmental, societal and economic benefits of affordably achieving zero emissions, while extending vehicle lives avoiding both costly and carbon intensive replacement.

Read more about decarbonising transit together with improving air quality in city centres with our recent article in RQ magazine - Just the Ticket


Similar business and regulatory drivers exist for transitioning rolling stock to decarbonised fuels together with a shared demand for air quality improvements in our cities.

Whilst there are differences in retrofitting hydrogen fuel cells power to buses and rail rollingstock, there are also many similarities which make Ricardo uniquely placed to help drive your rail hydrogen projects forward.

There are clear parallels for retrofitting fuel cells to existing diesel rail vehicles, particularly diesel multiple units (DMU's). The retrofit bus solution to be delivered early in 2022 is a great demonstrator for Ricardo engineering and integration expertise that can be brought to your railway hydrogen retrofit projects.

The longer working life of rollingstock compared to road vehicles makes retro-fit option a very attractive option to avoid the early retirement of vehicles from service and hybrid power train options are also available to deliver zero emissions within cities but provide extended range or speed over longer distances. 

Our engineering teams are experienced in retrofitting technologies to existing vehicles together with expertise in both hydrogen and rail rolling stock disciplines.
 
With one project partner you can also simplify interfaces and reduce risk. With in-house engineering, integration, optimisation and assurance and certification the Ricardo rail teams draw on expertise in many areas to optimise and deliver exceptional levels of:

  • System Performance
  • System Integration
  • In-service Support
  • Safety
  • Assurance and Certification

If you would like to see how we can give your fleet a new lease of life then please get in touch