Conversion kits can adapt the way vehicles run

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Fuel cells aren’t the only way of using hydrogen to power cars.

Three years ago, ITM Power launched a pioneering collaboration with automotive technology business Revolve Technologies to develop a conversion kit that allows a conventional internal combustion engine to run on hydrogen as well as petrol.

The company has also run a series of trials with blue chip companies and local authorities, using its transportable high pressure hydrogen refueling unit and Ford Transit vans, modified to run on hydrogen as well as petrol, by Revolve.

The Hydrogen On Site Trials – or HOST programme – involved major logistics companies like DHL Supply Chain, London Stansted Airport, public and private sector highways maintenance specialist VolkerHighways, construction group Amey and the Forestry Commission as well as Sheffield City Council and the London Borough of Camden.

Organisations were offered free fuel and the use of two modified Transits for a week, with the option to lease the refuelling unit and the vehicles for a further period, if they wanted to extend the test.

As interest rose, more companies wanted to run tests.

Last year leading support services company Carillion was so keen to try out the system that it became the first company to hire one of the transportable refuelling units, developed by ITM, which only needed to be hooked up to a water and an electricity supply in order to start producing hydrogen.

The breakthrough with Carillion came at the same time as early results from the HOST tests show the refueling rig is both reliable and ahead of industry standards when it comes to efficiency and as ITM launched three new hydrogen fuel products at a major exhibition in Hanover.

The three commercial products – Hflame, Hbox and Hpack - all use electrolyser technology. HFlame is designed to generate hydrogen on demand for laboratory and workshop applications, eliminating the need to store large amounts of flammable gas and the costs of rental and delivery of gas bottles.

HBox is aimed at system integrators, fuel cell developers and experimenters who need to use hydrogen, includes a version designed to be connected to a solar power system and could be used to produce hydrogen to run domestic appliances.