Posted: Mon 24th Apr 2023

Toyota Collaborates with Broughton based AMRC Cymru to advance hydrogen electric propulsion systems

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Apr 24th, 2023

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Cymru in Broughton has announced significant advancements in its Hydrogen Electric Propulsion Systems (HEPS) assembly testbed since work commenced in October 2022.

The HEPS project focuses on ‘de-risking’ the assembly and production scale-up of hydrogen fuel cells for the automotive, aerospace, and rail industries.

In collaboration with Toyota, the AMRC, part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, will use the HEPS testbed to assemble Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cells at the facility next the Airbus in Broughton.

The partnership aims to support the growth of fuel cell manufacturing in the UK and is funded by the Welsh Government’s Low Carbon Automotive Transformation Fund.

Lee Wheeler, Senior Engineer and Hydrogen/Future Propulsion Lead at AMRC Cymru, commented on the collaboration with Toyota, stating that the partnership allows the AMRC to contribute its expertise in digital manufacturing, hydrogen, sustainable manufacturing, and future propulsion.

Simon Foster, Senior Manager for Production Control and New Business Development at Toyota UK, called the collaboration a “brilliant opportunity” to develop assembly concepts for fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) powertrains, boosting the skill base of both Toyota and AMRC.

Stuart Dawson, chief engineer for hydrogen at the AMRC, said: “We’re delighted that Toyota, one of the world leaders in hydrogen fuel cell technologies, has decided to collaborate with AMRC Cymru to exploit the capabilities of the new HEPS assembly cell.

“For the UK hydrogen fuel cell sector, in general, we have noticed a discontent between the high maturity levels of their product and the much lower ones for their manufacturing methods. ”

“That’s why we invested over £1m into the new HEPS cell which will allow the UK manufacturers to develop high yield, high rate, globally competitive methods of fuel cell assembly.”

“The HEPS cells will enable these companies to scale up their production and for fuel cell manufacturing to become anchored within the UK.”

The AMRC Cymru team will work to de-risk, industrialise, and scale-up the assembly of hydrogen fuel cells and electrolysers by applying advanced manufacturing processes, including automation, digital, in-process verification, and design for manufacture.

This initiative could bring the UK transport sector closer to its net zero ambitions.

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