A project to develop zero-emission fuel cells for fire engines, ambulances and road sweepers has won a £3.9m government grant.
Engineering firm Ulemco is working with Oxfordshire County Council on powering the vehicles by hydrogen.
The firm said the award, matched by another £3.9m from the automotive industry, would fund research into how to extend the vehicles’ range.
The council said it was a promising step towards net zero emissions.
Liverpool-based Ulemco said the project would deliver a “production-ready, zero-emission ambulance”, a fully working prototype fire pumping appliance and a road sweeper.
The firm’s previous research, in conjunction with Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, concluded that zero-emission battery electric fire engines would meet emergency response times and water pumping requirements.
The vehicles would have a combination of stored energy in their batteries and onboard hydrogen fuel storage, and could be refuelled rapidly.
Oxfordshire’s chief fire officer, Rob MacDougall, said: “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.”
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