The Anonymous Widower

Ricardo Supports Toyota To Develop Its First UK-Based Hydrogen Light Commercial Vehicle

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Ricardo.

This is the first paragraph.

Ricardo, a global strategic, environmental, and engineering consulting company, is supporting Toyota, in partnership with the APC, on a significant, multi-year project to develop its first zero emission hydrogen powered light commercial vehicle in the UK.

Note.

  1. Ricardo is a long-established engineering consultancy, headquartered in Shoreham, that employs 3,000 people and has a turnover of around £350,000. It has a high reputation, especially in the design of diesel engines.
  2. Ricardo has already converted a diesel bus to hydrogen, which I wrote about in Ricardo Repowers Double Decker Diesel Bus With Hydrogen Fuel Cells.
  3. The zero emission hydrogen powered light commercial vehicle, will be based on the Toyota Hilux, of which nearly twenty million have been built.
  4. Toyota already produce the hydrogen-powered Mirai.
  5. The APC is the UK Government’s Advanced Propulsion Centre.

This looks like one of those collaborations in the 1960s between Ford and Lotus, that produced the iconic Lotus Cortina.

The press release says this about Ricardo’s role in the project.

The Toyota Hilux hydrogen variant will be the first of its kind, manufactured and assembled at Toyota’s Derby-based facility and is scheduled for prototype production in 2023. Ricardo has been chosen as a partner by Toyota due to its proven experience in applying advanced propulsion technologies and expertise in hydrogen fuel cell integration, including for the UK’s first hydrogen transport hub.

Ricardo’s role in the project is to integrate the complete hydrogen fuel cell, fuel storage system, and controls including design, analysis, and validation. The integration ensures efficient operation of all systems to give an excellent vehicle range and supports attributes for longevity and reliability. Working as part of the consortium, Ricardo will support the delivery of a complete turnkey solution, which will create greater agility for Toyota in the UK supply base and a quicker turnaround in the design of low volume manufacturing.

This certainly looks like a co-operation between equals.

I have a few thoughts on the fuel cells.

The Wikipedia entry for the Toyota Mirai says this about the fuel cells for that car.

The first generation of Toyota FC Stack achieved a maximum output of 114 kW (153 hp). Electricity generation efficiency was enhanced through the use of 3D fine mesh flow channels. These channels—a world first, according to Toyota—were arranged in a fine three-dimensional lattice structure to enhance the dispersion of air (oxygen), thereby enabling uniform generation of electricity on cell surfaces. This, in turn, provided a compact size and a high level of performance, including the stack’s world-leading power output density of 3.1 kW/L (2.2 times higher than that of the previous Toyota FCHV-adv limited-lease model), or 2.0 kW/kg. Each stack comprises 370 (single-line stacking) cells, with a cell thickness of 1.34 mm and weight of 102 g. The compact Mirai FC stack generates about 160 times more power than the residential fuel cells on sale in Japan.[40] The Mirai has a new compact (13-liter), high-efficiency, high-capacity converter developed to boost voltage generated in the Toyota FC Stack to 650 volts.

As a rudimentary search of the Internet says that an entry-level HiLux has a 148 hp diesel engine, it seems that Toyota’s own fuel cells could be in the right ball park.

This second press release from Ricardo is entitled Hyzon And Ricardo To Deliver Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems For Commercial Vehicles.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Ricardo is a world-class environmental, engineering and strategic consulting company, is partnering with leading hydrogen vehicle supplier Hyzon Motors Inc. on developing and deploying commercial systems to support the decarbonisation of the global transport and energy sectors.

The companies announced today they will be working to combine Hyzon’s high-power-density fuel cell stack with Ricardo’s unrivaled software and controls, thermal management and proven track record advising customers on hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Note, that the press release dates from December 2021.

The last paragraph of the press release is probably the most significant.

The potential of the Hyzon-Ricardo engagement has already borne fruit with the debut of the Ricardo Vehicle Integrated Controls and Simulation (VICS) control system within the Hyzon fuel cell electric truck at the Advanced Clean Transportation conference in September. Moving forward, Ricardo will support Hyzon in a global capacity on the development and deployment of advanced energy management and propulsion systems to accelerate the realisation of net zero initiatives across all modes of transport.

Note.

  1. Have Ricardo used Hyzon fuel cells to create their hydrogen-powered bus? I wrote about this project in Ricardo Repowers Double Decker Diesel Bus With Hydrogen Fuel Cells.
  2. If Ricardo and Hyzon have been working together for a few years, the timescale would fit.
  3. As a Graduate Control Engineer, I know that with complex engineering systems of all kinds, good control is often hard to achieve. Perhaps, Ricardo have cracked it!

I can certainly see, Ricardo playing a similar role in the creation of Toyota’s Hydrogen HiLux.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that with their hydrogen deals with Toyota and Hyzon, Ricardo are converting themselves from a giant in the field of diesel engine technology to a significant player in the field of hydrogen power.

December 3, 2022 - Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , ,

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