NPIF Equity

Company that converts heavy duty vehicles to hydrogen raises over £5m

ULEMCo, a Liverpool-based company that converts commercial vehicles to run on hydrogen fuel, has raised over £5m in a funding round led by Mercia Ventures, which was investing from its own funds and the first Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), and backed by existing investors Equity Gap, the North West Fund and Scottish Enterprise.

The new funding will enable the company to expand its skilled conversion team and develop new products in  hydrogen dual fuel, fuel cell and zero-carbon emission combustion. It expects to create around 100 new jobs across the UK over the next three to five years.

ULEMCo’s ‘dual fuel solution’ (H2CED) enables heavy duty vehicles to run off hydrogen but continue to use diesel where necessary. It allows operators to switch to cleaner fuel and significantly reduce their carbon emissions without having to replace their existing fleet. The technology is suitable for different makes and types of vehicles including refuse trucks, road sweepers and other machines and equipment.

ULEMCo, which is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, was founded by Amanda Lyne, a cleantech expert and serial entrepreneur who had previously co-founded hydrogen fuel cell specialist ACAL. The company has seen demand from businesses and local authorities, particularly in Scotland. Aberdeen alone now has 55 hydrogen-enabled vehicles as a result of the company’s first ‘fleetwide conversion contract’ with the City Council.

“These investments are a strong endorsement of our technology, capabilities and our vision”, said Amanda Lyne, Founder and Managing Director of ULEMCo. “The time is right for hydrogen to take an even more important role in the move to clean mobility and net zero.”

Rob Hornby of Mercia Ventures added: “Almost all heavy duty vehicles and machines are powered by diesel, but fleet operators are under pressure to reduce carbon. However there are limited options – electric vehicles do not work for heavy duty use and biofuel solutions have not yet proven to be scalable. Ulemco offers a practical and effective alternative.”

“We are excited to increase our support for ULEMCo and its management team”, said Fraser Lusty, Director of Equity Gap. “Hydrogen is an important part of achieving net zero, and ULEMCo is showing itself well placed to drive implementation of this clean fuel with immediate benefits.”

Debbie Sorby, Senior Manager,  British Business Bank, said: “Innovative businesses like ULEMCo are a key component to achieving the UK’s net zero goals. ULEMCo is ahead of the trend, providing a solution in sustainable fuels for heavy duty vehicles. The forward-looking business answers an unmet demand for hydrogen-based fuels paving the way towards a more sustainable future. We look forward to supporting ULEMCo in its growth journey throughout Scotland and across the UK.”

The NPIF investment was from the first Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund,  which has now closed. The new Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II  was launched in March 2024 and is now open for applications.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.