Fishing boat returning to port passing a red lighthouse and surrounded by gulls - Getty 115815512
Low Carbon Devon has collaborated with Ecomotus, a small and innovative Devon-based company specialising in the injection of small amounts of hydrogen into diesel engines to reduce their emissions and improve their efficiency.
EcoPro is a catalytic hydrogen product that can help to reduce emissions in difficult-to-decarbonise sectors. Electric conversion and batteries fail to meet the high energy density needs of heavy industries. The maritime industry, in particular, requires high energy density fuels required for long-distance travel and is currently dependent on fossil fuels. As a sector it is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, contributing significantly to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. 
The reliance on diesel also adds increasing economic pressure for industry. The subsidy of red diesel has been removed and the high cost of fuel is making the cost of transport and running machinery increasingly uneconomical for many businesses.
The technology
The EcoPro system works by adding hydrogen into the air intake of diesel engines which improves its combustion efficiency and reduces pollutants. The resulting emissions contain significantly less carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter compared to conventional diesel fuel. Whilst other alternatives are sought, clean fuel catalysts can significantly reduce harmful emissions and the carbon footprint of industry and transport.
The EcoPro system is versatile and can be retrofitted onto all diesel engines – from cars and trucks to maritime vessels – helping to reduce carbon emissions in a wide range of industries including transportation, logistics and shipping.
  • The injection of hydrogen acts as a catalyst, improving the combustion process and reducing emissions. 
  • Burns fuel more completely. Reduces carbon deposits, noxious gasses and soot emitted.
  • Helps to clean the engine by removing carbon deposits, which can improve its lifespan.
  • Cost-effective solution to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and expenses.
Pure hydrogen is a clean, low carbon fuel showing promise for many sectors. However, at present, it is not regarded as a practical option for the maritime industry due to challenges such as lower energy density, limited supply in ports and current high cost. Whilst systems and technology are pending further development, the use of a catalytic hydrogen system is a valuable tool in reducing emissions and driving progress towards a more sustainable future.
The EcoPro technology has been added to Salcombe-based crabber Emma Jayne. The commercial fishing vessel has been using the new system for several months, and the benefits have been impressive – a significant reduction in its fuel consumption and a reduction in the vessel's carbon footprint by up to 20%. This has significantly reduced the emissions of harmful pollutants and reduced their fuel bill.
The EcoPro system's benefits have not been limited to the vessel's performance but have also had a positive impact on its crew. The system has reduced engine noise and vibration, creating a more comfortable and safer working environment. As the fuel burns more completely with less soot, the engines are cleaner requiring less downtime and associated repair and maintenance costs.
The project
Through a collaboration with Low Carbon Devon, Ecomotus was able to further develop and refine their technology by working with Power Electronics Research Fellow, Jonathan Bloor, to develop the EcoPro system’s electronics with enhanced monitoring and control capabilities. 
Through the collaboration with Jonathan they developed a remote dashboard providing customers with more detailed insights into the system’s operation via real-time key metrics such as fuel efficiency, emissions reduction, and hydrogen production.
As the purity of the hydrogen is crucial for the safe and effective operation of the diesel engine, the development of 4G monitoring of the hydrogen production process provides customers with live remote-access data. This gives the customer greater control of the performance of the system and any issues can be resolved quickly. 
The results
The newly developed features are still in testing but the result of this collaboration is a successful commercial venture, with Ecomotus supplying their technology to a growing number of businesses with interest from the transportation, fishing and wind farm sectors. 
Through the collaboration with Low Carbon Devon, Ecomotus have also gained connections with local businesses and government agencies, helping to expand their customer base. Ecomotus are making plans to increase production of the EcoPro once trials of the new electronic designs are complete.
Whilst only a step within the greater challenge of reaching net zero, the EcoPro system has so far saved significant amounts of CO2 from going into the atmosphere – approximately 1278 tons. Independent emissions tests show that the EcoPro reduces emissions on internal combustion engines by up to 30% while improving fuel efficiency by 10 – 20%. EcoPro customer, the skipper of the Barantszee of Ladram, Waterdance, reported that following installation of the EcoPro, they saved approximately 5000 litres of fuel in their first week. 
The collaboration with Low Carbon Devon has developed the EcoPro system to become even more effective and reliable, supporting the adoption of this low carbon technology by a growing customer base. Successful partnership resulting in the elevation of new technologies is anticipated to encourage further investment and  development of future solutions.
Ecomotus Ltd and the EcoPro won Product of the Year at the Fishing News Awards 2022.
The Low Carbon Devon project was a five-year European Regional Development Fund project held at the University of Plymouth supporting Devon businesses to transition to the low carbon economy closing in mid-2023.
The project served as a catalyst for low carbon economic growth in Devon via the Future Shift internship programme, a series of free events and by connecting enterprises with expertise within the University of Plymouth.
The project collaborated with over 130 innovative Devon enterprises who are developing sustainable practices and securing opportunities in the low carbon economy.
To find out more about the University of Plymouth's business services visit Enterprise Solutions
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