UK-based Viritech, a developer of advanced hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Reaction Engines, a developer of space access and sustainable technologies including thermal management technology, to support the development of more efficient powertrains for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
This follows the launch of the Apricale hypercar at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The Apricale combines 1000 bhp in a zero-emission vehicle weighing just 1000kg. This is half the weight of some battery-electric hypercars, a reduction that is hugely attractive for both high-performance cars and commercial vehicles.
As pioneers of compact, lightweight FCEV powertrains, Viritech was naturally attracted to Reaction Engines’ world-leading technology, which was originally developed for hybrid air-breathing rocket engines to quench airflow temperatures of more than 1000˚C to ambient in a fraction of a second. In 2019, Reaction Engines launched its Applied Technologies division to bring the unique compact and lightweight thermal management to other sectors, including automotive.
The two companies will jointly explore the first use of Reaction Engines’ technology in FCEV powertrains. Thermal management of fuel cells has always been a challenge because their operating temperature requires a large surface area radiator to maintain the correct temperature. Reaction Engines’ technology promises to reduce significantly the size and weight of the cooling system for both the fuel cell and the battery pack, which is an integral part of all FCEV powertrains.