Bramble Energy’s ‘Hydrogen Bus’ reaches a crucial milestone, taking a significant innovative step toward transforming the transport sector

Bramble Energy’s ‘Hydrogen Bus’ reaches a crucial milestone, taking a significant innovative step toward transforming the transport sector

June 19, 2024: Bramble Energy – in partnership with Equipmake, Aeristech, and the University of Bath – has reached a significant milestone in the Hydrogen Electric Integrated Drivetrain Initiative (HEIDI) project, funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK as part of the Automotive Transformation Fund. 

A project expected to save nearly 6 million tonnes of CO2 from being emitted, HEIDI’s goal is to develop a first of its kind hydrogen double-deck bus integrating Bramble Energy’s revolutionary, low-cost printed circuit board fuel cell (PCBFC™) technology.

One year after the £12.7 million landmark project commenced*, the consortium has completed the concept designs for the hydrogen system and double-decker bus and is now moving into the manufacturing phase.

The significant progress made in HEIDI typifies Bramble’s approach to manufacturability, scalability and rapid innovation in developing technologies that seek to solve global challenges. 

Key achievements across the HEIDI project include:

  • Concept designs finalised: The HEIDI project has successfully completed the concept designs for the fuel cell system, hydrogen storage, and the bus itself. Bramble’s flexible fuel cell design has allowed the bus to maintain a capacity of 86 passengers, a standard similar to current London double-deckers, without compromising service for system installation.
  • Promising initial results: Early testing of the fuel cell stack shows promising results for power output at bus level, paving the way for a clean and efficient power source.
  • Long range and rapid refuelling: Simulations predict a range of up to 280 miles on UK bus routes using 350 bar hydrogen. This surpasses the typical daily distance of London buses (100-200 miles) and offers refuelling times similar to diesel or petrol alternatives (around 8 minutes).

Bramble Energy, with its partners, will now move into the next phase of HEIDI, manufacturing key components, including the fuel cell stack, fuel cell system, and hydrogen storage.

Dr. Vidal Bharath, CCO at Bramble Energy comments: “This new milestone for HEIDI brings us one step closer to revolutionising public transport with our innovative PCBFC™ technology providing a viable path to net-zero emissions for commercial vehicles. 

“The ability to maintain passenger capacity whilst achieving significant range and rapid refuelling times showcases the practicality and scalability of our solution. By integrating our fuel cell stacks into the hydrogen double-deck bus, we are not only advancing sustainable transport but also supporting nearly 500 jobs and aiming to prevent nearly 6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the next decade. Together with our partners, we are committed to delivering a sustainable, cost-effective, and zero-emission future – one that will benefit both the transport sector and its customers.”

*Bramble Energy Secures £12 Million Funding to Provide First-of-its-kind Fuel Cell Technology to Hydrogen Bus Project

About Bramble Energy

Bramble Energy is an award-winning cleantech business accelerating global decarbonisation and powering the transition to a Net Zero world. Backed to date with £41 million from prominent investors HydrogenOne Capital, Parkwalk Advisors, UCL Technology Fund, BGF and IP Group, Bramble Energy continues to grow its team, technologies and facilities. Bramble Energy was the recipient of “Business Transformation of the Year Award” at The Lloyds Bank British Business Excellence 2023 Awards, and placed in Deloitte’s EMEA Fast 500 ranking. Founder Dr Tom Mason has grown a team of three in the research labs at Imperial College of London and University College of London to an 80+ strong team of fuel cell technology and electrochemical engineering experts. 

Based in a multi-million pound HQ in Crawley, UK this innovation hub enables Bramble Energy to push the boundaries and scale-up its technologies to solve the global challenge of making clean energy technology accessible. Focusing on manufacturability, scalability and rapid innovation, the company has developed PCB-X – a versatile hydrogen platform that leverages printed circuit board (PCB) technology to create clean energy solutions. These solutions include the patent protected PCB fuel cell PCBFC™, which can be manufactured in almost all PCB factories worldwide, enabling global scale and local production; PCB electrolysers that are accessible, stackable and low cost; and hydrogen safety sensors that operate without mains connection.


About the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK

The Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC) collaborates with UK government, the automotive industry and academia to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, supporting the transition to deliver net-zero emission vehicles.

Since its foundation in 2013, APC has funded 264 low-carbon projects involving 492 partners, working with companies of all sizes, and will have helped to create or safeguard over 58,000 jobs in the UK. The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 410 million tonnes of CO2.

With its deep sector expertise and cutting-edge knowledge of new propulsion technologies, APC’s role in building and advising project consortia helps projects start more quickly and deliver increased value. In the longer term, its work to drive innovation and encourage collaboration is building the foundations for a successful and sustainable UK automotive industry.

In 2019 the UK government committed the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to accelerate the development of a net-zero vehicle supply chain, enabling UK-based manufacturers to serve global markets. ATF investments are awarded through the APC to support strategically important UK capital and R&D investments that will enable companies involved in batteries, motors and drives, power electronics, fuel cells, and associated supply chains to anchor their future.

For more information go to apcuk.co.uk or follow us @theapcuk on X and Advanced Propulsion Centre UK on LinkedIn.

About Equipmake

Equipmake has more than 20 years’ experience developing and integrating industry-leading innovative electric powertrains. It provides the complete solution. Not only is Equipmake a leader in ultra-high performance electric motors, but also complete EV drivetrains and ultra-fast power electronic systems. As well as developing proprietary technology – from motors to inverters – it also offers EV consultancy.

CEO Ian Foley is a highly-experienced engineer who has worked at the pinnacle of global motorsport – from Le Mans to F1 – and Equipmake’s team of expert engineers can take a project from initial specifications through modelling, simulation, design, prototyping, testing and then production in tight timescales.

Using this expertise, Equipmake has become a global leader in the repowering of buses – most recently completing an all-electric repower of the new Routemaster, as well as partnering with First Bus to upgrade its fleet – while the company has also expanded into the electrified aerospace sector, providing state-of-the-art electric motors for Gilmour Space Technologies’ rockets, as well as in VTOL. Equipmake also continues to supply leading technology to electric sports car and hipercar projects too.

Visit Equipmake

About Aeristech

Aeristech develops high performance electric motors, inverters and oil-free compressors for a range of innovative applications. The company’s patented motor control technology offers customers greater optimisation of performance, efficiency, power-density and cost in hydrogen fuel cell, heat pumps and industrial compressor applications.

Based in Warwickshire, Aeristech has extensive in-house expertise in motor design, power electronics, and air-bearings supported by high-quality prototyping, test and low-volume manufacturing facilities.

Home (aeristech.co.uk)

About University of Bath / IAAPS

IAAPS is a Research Institute of the University of Bath, building on a strong track record of delivering propulsion system research with impact at Bath. We are a centre of excellence for collaborative R&D in all aspects of Automotive Propulsion Systems. For the last 40 years our approach has been to align research conducted by some of the world’s best engineers with specific industrial challenges and we are now constructing a world-class research facility on the Bristol & Bath Science Park that will allow IAAPS to deliver impact for years to come.