ITM joins in with emissions project

CLEAN fuel company ITM Power is to take part in a Ford Motors project to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Sheffield-based ITM will join Jaguar Land Rover, Johnson Matthey, University of Bradford, University of Liverpool, University of Birmingham, Combustion Ltd and Revolve Technologies on the "CO2 Reduction through Emissions Optimisation" project.

The aim is to re-design the internal combustion engine and exhaust system to minimise carbon dioxide levels.

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The project, which is funded by the Technology Strategy Board, will award ITM a funding grant of 250,000 for its work.

Dr Graham Cooley, ITM Power's chief executive said: "We are delighted to be collaborating with Ford in this area of development in the transport sector.

"The use of hydrogen in transport is widely misunderstood and has many different applications."

He added that ITM has specific expertise in this area and it is already pioneering the development of commercial hydrogen-fuelled vehicles through its Hydrogen On Site Trial programme with a number of blue chip partners.

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ITM said that traditionally catalytic converters have been fitted to modern engines to reduce their impact on air quality.

"Although great strides have been made to improve the fuel economy of vehicles, there is still an impact of about four per cent due to emissions control systems," said Dr Cooley.

The company said the project "aims to re-design the engine and aftertreatment as a complete system". The goal is to meet legislative, customer and business requirements while minimising carbon dioxide levels.

"This will be achieved through the use of novel after treatment techniques, the on-board generation and use of hydrogen and the development and application of new optimisation tools," said Dr Cooley.

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The major players behind the project are Ford, which manufactures around two million engines a year in the UK, Jaguar Land Rover, which installs engines supplied by Ford, and Johnson Matthey, which provides many of the catalytic converters fitted into the engines.

The potential UK supply chain will be enhanced by the inclusion of ITM, which will provide specialist equipment during the project.

Three vehicles will be built to demonstrate the potential of the technology – a petrol car, a diesel car and a diesel hybrid bus.

The target is a four per cent improvement in carbon dioxide emissions by 2015, potentially rising to 15 per cent by 2025.

On Wednesday ITM launched its hydrogen refuelling system.

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The firm, which has developed an electrolyser system to convert electricity into hydrogen gas, can now license its technology into other markets, such as medical, drug delivery and water purification.

Dr Cooley, who was brought in last year to commercialise ITM's technology, said: "We have now broadened the scope of the intellectual property and the next step can be anything we want it to be."

ITM has created a HFuel high-pressure refueller, and has already signed up two local authorities as well as logistics firm DHL, London Stansted Airport and the Forestry Commission.

Its innovative electrolyser technology creates high-purity hydrogen from electricity and water.

Trials will start next year and will provide each council with two Ford Transit vans run on hydrogen generated by portable refuellers.