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dev banc
15 March 2024
Public Sector

World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Meals On Wheels Van Enters Trials In Monmouthshire

Monmouthshire Council has partnered with a Caerphilly-based van specialist to trial the world’s first hydrogen-powered meals-on-wheels vehicle.

Built by Ystrad Mynach-based van converter Vantastec, in partnership with Swedish fuel cell experts PowerCell, the vehicle will be used on a four to six week-long trial by Monmouthshire Council for their Monmouthshire Meals service.

Housed in an electric Nissan Townstar van, Vantastec’s new, patent-pending Hydrogen Power Unit provides power to equipment that can defrost and regenerate meals to an edible temperature. The power unit gives specialist vehicle operators a zero-emission independent power source for on-board equipment such as microwaves, water heaters and regeneration ovens.

Managing Directors Gareth Edwards and Colin Smith, who founded Vantastec in 2006, said:

“Our new hydrogen power pack is a gamechanger for helping businesses reach net zero. Battery-powered vehicles certainly have their place. But when it comes to installing heavy ancillary equipment, any additional weight can drastically affect an EV’s real-world range. Feedback from our customers tells us EVs aren’t optimal for a lot of businesses' workflows.

“Our new Hydrogen Power Unit gives fleet operators one less battery to charge. Instead, they are able to refuel at a hydrogen fuel station in less than 10 minutes. The pack can be installed on any kind of van as an additional power source – not just oven vans. You can even use it as a standalone generator to charge your electric vehicles.”

The research and development of the Hydrogen Power Unit was conducted by Vantastec with financial aid from Cardiff Capital Region as part of their Challenge Led Innovation scheme.

It was built and developed in partnership with Swedish-based fuel cell experts the PowerCell Group.

PowerCell sales manager Stuart Sharp said:

“PowerCell is proud to be a part of this project, which is bringing hydrogen applications closer to the community. This demonstrates the limitless possibilities and demand for hydrogen fuel cells in our lives as we transition to a greener future.

“The success of this project, achieved in record time, is attributed to the teamwork between PowerCell and Vantastec. Both companies have contributed their expertise and dedication to develop the hydrogen fuel cell power generation system installed on the roof of the vehicle. This collaboration showcases that true net-zero fleet operation is achievable today.”

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