Online supermarket Ocado has taken delivery of the first dual-fuel conversion of a Mercedes Sprinter by Liverpool's ULEMCo. The vehicle has been modified to run on both diesel and hydrogen, cutting CO2 emissions and extending the range. The converted Sprinter is operating now from Ocado's West Drayton hub, delivering goods to customers in the surrounding area.

ULEMCo was founded in 2014 and has since converted a number of commercial vehicles to run on hydrogen and gasoline/diesel dual-fuel, including a road sweeper, a waste disposal truck and a big rig. The Ocado project marks the first time that the company has completed a Sprinter conversion.

"This was the first time that ULEMCo has worked on Mercedes van engine data, and worked with the refrigerated vehicle body building company in order to optimize the conversion and tank installation design," said ULEMCo.

The ultra-low emissions company makes use of its optimized combustion technology "to replace significant quantities of diesel with hydrogen." The Ocado vehicle is expected to save around 40 percent in tailpipe CO2 compared to the supermarket's standard fleet of Sprinters, with ULEMCo saying that the conversion to dual fuel does not diminish the vehicle's diesel tank capacity.

In dual fuel mode, ULEMCo says that up to 180 miles is possible for its van conversion customers, and "depending on the duty cycle, and the driver's style, the diesel mpg will go to around 75 - 85 mpg, with 70 percent of the energy coming from hydrogen."

Though a conversion to battery electric would enable zero local emission deliveries, such vehicles would need to be out of action for a while to recharge. By comparison, refueling stops for hydrogen are said to be over in around 5 minutes. The Ocado delivery van will make use of existing hydrogen refilling stations.

"Ocado is committed to reducing vehicle emissions across its fleet," said Ocado's Graham Thomas. "Deployment of this first dual-fuel van represents an important step in developing our plans for cleaner, more efficient fleet operation."

Source: ULEMCo