The Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) and Connected Automated Mobility (CAM) event is a pivotal event for the transport sector. LCV brings together some of the incredible innovators supporting the transition to reduce emissions and strive for net zero in the transport sector.
The event always draws many attendees from all backgrounds and this year was no exception. From manufacturers and developers to Universities and R&D and from Government representation to policy makers, the event is central to how the transport sector can evolve toward and beyond net zero.
The Dolphin N2 stand is always dominated by the recuperated split-cycle engine demonstrator and was a great draw for delegates to the show.
Only twenty-four hours before LCV, Dolphin N2 announced that they had been successful in their application to receive funding and support through the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator 2 (ARMD2) competition.
The projects will undertake the development of technologies for vehicles including:
- electric first responder motorcycles for the emergency services,
- EV delivery vans,
- fuel cell technology,
- electric drives and motors,
- and tractors and composite materials.
The reaction to this news was extremely positive with many people congratulating the Dolphin N2 team and a high level of expectation was generated by this news. https://www.apcuk.co.uk/green-flag-for-fast-start-vehicle-demonstrators/
Throughout the two days, many attendees and senior delegates made their way to the Dolphin N2 stand to engage with the team and discuss the developments of the Dolphin N2 technology.
Conversations held between Simon Brewster – CEO, Nick Owen – Technical Director and Tim Burnhope – Head of Innovation at JCB and Charles Stevenson – General Manager at JCB London proved to be very positive, especially as both companies are working in hydrogen developments.
Further discussions were held between the Dolphin N2 team and senior delegates from CNH industrial and Bennamann ltd, as one of the many applications the Dolphin N2 engine technology can be utilised in is the agriculture sector.
On day two of LCV senior delegates from FPT Industrial (Dolphin N2’s parent company) Ian Constance – CEO of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, David Greenwood – CEO WMG High Value Manufacturing and John Kell MBE – Principal Specialist and Account Manager (Automotive Sector Team) at the Department of Business and Trade were all present and in discussion with Simon Brewster, Nick Owen and other members of the Dolphin N2 team.
Several of the seminars focused explicitly on the ways in which alternative future fuels are playing their part in the decarbonisation of transport and hydrogen took centre stage in several presentations.
Despite the hydrogen economy still being in its infancy, it has been recognised as one of the important components supporting the energy sectors and some of the harder to decarbonise sectors for transport.
On Tuesday 6th September at the ‘Scaling the automotive sector to deliver net zero’ John Hunt – Senior Manager Hydrogen Transformation Manager at Toyota recognised that humans must recognise and address carbon, using our resources appropriately whilst ensuring global equity and security.
John Hunt recognised that in the automotive and transport sectors there is not one size fits all and we cannot use one technology for all our transportation needs.
This message was echoed throughout the entire LCV event this year. John recognised that hydrogen being the base element for all energy and the most abundant element in the universe, lends itself to circularity.
John recognised, as many do, that hydrogen is starting to come into its own and has international support and legislation being built around a need for a recognised and functioning international hydrogen economy and infrastructure. He recognised that there was already $240B of investment in hydrogen globally and that Toyota were already at the forefront of the use of hydrogen in transport.
The use of hydrogen as a fuel for transport enables existing supply chains to continue to produce key components which are interchangeable across entire ranges of vehicles. The challenge for introducing hydrogen into any vehicle is storage.
One of the key innovations from Toyota is their ability to adopt and embrace transferable technology. The technology used in their Mirai range for example, is also being used in generators, buses, units/modules and has the potential to be adapted for trucks, rail and maritime.
To highlight their point, the new hydrogen fuel-cell Hilux (developed in the UK) was unveiled at LCV to great applause and interest, proving that Toyota remain at the forefront of technological advancement in the transport sector and pioneers in the race for carbon neutrality and reducing GHGs.
However, as has been heard before, John Hunt highlighted that the UK are still behind in their hydrogen ambition, with little or no infrastructure to support a hydrogen economy (this point was echoed in another seminar) and that investment is needed to deliver the promises a hydrogen economy can deliver.
This year LCV turned the focus on farming and farming methods, one of the more challenging sectors to decarbonise.
Outside the main seminar rooms could be found a broad selection of innovations being researched and developed in the farming sector. However, it could not escape anyone’s attention that towering above us all were two New Holland T6 tractors. These tractors are one of the innovations being produced to reduce emissions as they run on methane.
During the Future of Farming seminar on day two of LCV, Steve Carroll – Head of Transport at Cenex – spoke about how the policies for reductions in GHGs in farming are primarily focussed on the outcomes, namely soil, crops, the food supply chain and cattle/dairy farming. With 90-95% of methane from cattle farming being emitted through a cow’s burps and only 5-10% from flatulence, it poses challenges in how to reduce these emissions alongside the considerations for the farm machinery as well.
However, Steve Carroll recognised, as John Hunt from Toyota had done before, that there is a real need for transferable technology in the farming and agriculture sectors to drive the innovations in the supply chains and in the transport options.
Note: Technology to reduce cows burps by using a seaweed-based food additive have already achieved global investment.
As part of the Future of Farming seminar, Alistair Walshaw – CNH Industrial – explored the work CNH, New Holland and Bennamann Ltd have been working on.
As part of the CNH investment in supporting agriculture to decarbonise, a H2 production test was undertaken in Italy whereby a farmer was provided with H2 for his farm vehicles. The farmer advised developers of the test that he naturally had an abundance of methane and therefore why couldn’t they use that?
It was this change in tactic which has lead CNH Industrial to develop the New Holland T6 methane powered tractor.
Alistair explained that tractors are all built differently for different applications and therefore electric batteries or H2 tanks would take up too much space on a vehicle adding unnecessary weight.
The technology surrounding the capture of methane and turning it into a sustainable fuel for farming and farm machinery comes from Cornish company Bennamann Ltd, now a part of the CNH Industrial portfolio with them taking a controlling stake in 2022.
The process sees dairy farmers covering cow manure slurries and capturing the methane as it expands. The methane is then processed into a usable fuel and pumped back into the methane tractor. Methane may not be a perfect solution, but in use it is recycling the gas and proposes a sustainable and readily available option for farmers and can benefit the circular economy.
Also on day two of LCV the seminar ‘Hydrogen – enabling hard to electrify transport’ highlighted once again the growing importance of hydrogen in the decarbonisation of transport and support of energy supplies.
Celia Greaves – CEO Hydrogen Energy Association focussed on how to kick start a hydrogen economy in the UK.
Celia recognised, as did many delegates, that hydrogen is a component of a future low carbon economy. The UK Government 10 point plan recognises the place hydrogen has on the road to net zero and has increased its ambition for hydrogen production from 5GW to 10GW. However, Celia also acknowledged that the current UK investment in hydrogen is far from where it should be, with the UK government approach being “patchwork” at best and requiring more focus at government level.
As previously mentioned, Celia also recognised how in Europe the hydrogen infrastructure is already being implemented, with rollouts for hydrogen fuelling for trucks already in place. Furthermore, with considerable policies being put in place and investment being directed in the right direction, Europe have already adopted hydrogen as one of the key components for the decarbonisation of their transport sector.
LCV and CAM recognise the vast amount of research, development and investment the low carbon vehicle sector is generating to decarbonise the transport sector. With clear recognition that there is no one silver bullet, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, LCV allows all the options to be out on the table adding to the incredible body of work being undertaken in the transport sector.
Written by Katy Mason, for and on behalf of Dolphin N2.