University of Brighton researchers are testing a pioneering hydrogen engine that could provide a clean and efficient way to help decarbonise transport globally.

Researchers at our South East Hub, the University of Brighton, will work with leading engineering consultancy Ricardo to test the prototype at its world-renowned Advanced Engineering Centre. The new hydrogen-fuelled research engine aims to provide a renewable, economic and durable technology solution to accelerate a move to zero carbon emissions not just in heavy duty vehicles, but also off-highway machines and shipping.

Vehicle manufacturers face increasingly stringent emissions regulations. The EU, for example, is demanding a minimum 30% improvement in CO2 emissions for heavy duty vehicles by 2030, compared to 2019 averages. Hydrogen could play a key role, with a recent European Road Transport Research Advisory Council CO2 study concluding that around half of transportation energy could come from hydrogen by 2050.

Dr Penny Atkins, Principal Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the University of Brighton’s Advanced Engineering Centre, said: “Hydrogen combustion engines could offer a vital medium term solution to support decarbonisation in the heavy duty sector. University of Brighton is excited to be able to use its expertise in hydrogen combustion and engine testing to support the development of this important technology.”

Adrian Greaney, Director of Technology and Digital at Ricardo Automotive and Industrial EMEA Division, said: “Green hydrogen has a critical role to play in our future energy and transport systems, particularly in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from hard to decarbonise sectors such as long-haul trucks, off-highway machines and marine. This exciting project with the University of Brighton on hydrogen engine technology sits alongside our developments in hydrogen fuel cell systems to deliver cost effective, clean and efficient solutions for our global clients.”

Development of this new hydrogen engine further boosts Sussex’s growing reputation as a pioneering clean technology hotspot. This includes the launch earlier this year of the wide-ranging Hydrogen Sussex initiative, complementing the University of Brighton’s involvement with Ricardo in plans to turn Shoreham Port into a green hydrogen hub with a new 20-megawatt power plant.

The university also teamed up with Ricardo last year to bring the revolutionary Dolphin N2 engine to market. Its world first capabilities include combining extreme efficiency with near-zero emissions of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx).