The Hydrogen Electric Integrated Drivetrain Initiative (HEIDI) consortium led by fuel cell technology company Bramble Energy, with Equipmake, Aeristech and the University of Bath as partners, is to develop a new hydrogen-powered double-deck bus that uses Bramble’s low-cost printed circuit board fuel cell (PCBFC) technology.
HEIDI has been granted £6.3m (US$7.9m) in funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre as part of the Automotive Transformation Fund. This government grant is set to be matched by the industry, totaling £12.7m (US$15.9m).
The funding will be used to develop a hydrogen-powered double-deck bus that features Bramble Energy’s PCBFC technology, motor power electronics and a battery management system from Equipmake and Aeristech’s high-efficiency air compressor. The University of Bath will be responsible for optimizing the powertrain by conducting vehicle simulations.
Bramble Energy was selected for the development project due to the design and manufacturing process of its fuel cell. The company uses printed circuit board technology, enabling customized fuel cell stacks to be manufactured in several days at a reduced cost. Furthermore, Bramble’s PCB technology negates the need for complicated and expensive parts found in electrochemical stacks. The fuel cell stacks are scalable, meaning they can be produced to meet customers’ different requirements.
“Fuel cell technology can deliver a viable net zero solution that lends itself to commercial vehicles where downtime needs to be limited,” explained Dr Vidal Bharath, CCO at Bramble Energy. “This consortium of partners means that we will be able to deliver a world-leading hybridized powertrain, utilizing our innovative low-cost PCBFC technology for the bus sector, where there needs to be a viable electrified solution that can deliver on cost and scalability.”