Later this year, London’s first hydrogen-powered ambulance will hit the road, equipped with an NPROXX hydrogen storage tank capable of storing up to 8kg of compressed gas at a nominal pressure of 350 bar.

The prototype vehicle is now being created as a demonstration of what the future of high-tech ambulances could look like. It will be delivered to The London NHS Trust service this autumn by UK hydrogen conversion specialists ULEMCo and partners. NPROXX collaborated closely with ULEMCo on the conversion’s design, resulting in a solution that places the hydrogen storage tank in the ambulance’s roof area, allowing for a payload of up to 900kg while maintaining a low-floor chassis for simple patient access.

“Emergency ambulances need to be ready to go at any time, so speed of re-fuelling and range are key factors when looking to transition these vehicles to a decarbonised energy source” explains Philipp Breuer, Sales Manager Automotive & Heavy Duty Vehicles. “This project is designed to show that a hydrogen fuel cell solution can offer a clear advantage over battery electric power alone. We expect that this ambulance will be able to travel significantly further and refuel faster than a battery-powered equivalent.”

The prototype ambulance, dubbed ZERRO (short for Zero Emission Rapid Response Operations), will be powered by a combination of a 30kW fuel cell, a type IV pressure vessel from NPROXX, and a 400V 92kWh battery. When necessary, the fuel cell will operate as a range extender, charging the battery. This gives the ZERRO an estimated daily range of 200 miles (320 kilometers) and a top speed of 90 miles per hour (145kph).

Nedim Husomanovic

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