Zero Emission Pumping Power for Emergency Vehicles

This Innovation Exchange challenge is delivered by KTN on behalf of London Fire Brigade to identify novel solutions to zero emission pumping power for emergency vehicles. The winning business(es) can present their solutions directly to London Fire Brigade and the Greater London Authority and form potential partnerships.

Opportunity Details


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The winning business(es) will be given an opportunity to present their solutions directly to London Fire Brigade and the Greater London Authority with the potential to partner with the aforementioned organisations in further development, grant or commercial routes.

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London Fire Brigade (LFB) is the busiest fire and rescue service in the country and one of the largest firefighting and rescue organisations in the world. LFB provides services across the  Greater London area, serving London’s 8.51 million residents as well as those who work in or visit the city.

London Fire Brigade has 102 Fire stations around London. It has a mixed fleet of 436 vehicles which is made up of 67 cars, 57 Vans and 312 heavy specialist appliances.

The Mayor of London has outlined in the London Environment Strategy (LES) how to tackle London’s air quality problem and to make London a Zero Carbon City by 2050. As part of this, the Mayor has set emission reduction targets for the London Fire Brigade which includes the requirement to have a zero-emission capable (hybrid) or fossil fuel free fleet by 2030 and a completely zero emission fleet by 2050.

The Challenge

One of the biggest challenges in this transition is the development of the Zero Emission Pumping Appliance (commonly known as a Fire Engine) due to the technical requirements – including an unusual duty cycle, demanding pumping requirements and space restrictions for additional components (e.g., batteries). The pumping appliance is also one of the most important vehicles in LFB’s fleet due to its function, flexibility and numbers (each station has at least one appliance).

Whilst developments are taking place in the heavy vehicle sector, the pumping appliance has an additional challenge due to the demanding energy and power ratings required to pump water – especially for prolonged periods.

When a pumping appliance attends an incident, the vehicles need to be capable of providing continuous pumping for a minimum of 4 hours @ an estimated rating of 90 kW – this means an extra energy source of up to 360 kWh is required on top of any driving requirement.

The pumping appliance is operationally crucial and is required to pump water at high and low pressure to fight various fires. The appliances carries 1,365 litres of water for smaller incidents but for larger fires an appliance  has to connect to fire hydrants (or pump from other water sources). The pumping unit must be able to push large volumes of water at heights and distances to support both the firefighters and units.

As a consequence, LFB is looking for ideas/solutions that can help supply this additional power during an incident.

LFB is open to ideas and innovations – this includes mobile power sources and solutions to generate or access power at site. Solutions are also welcomed that can support LFB’s current operations which includes responding to multiple incidents with little or no time to recharge at station.

Solutions that could provide all or some of the following are welcomed

  • reduce the energy requirements of appliances (particularly the demanding ancillary load)
  • increase the output or efficiencies of the auxiliary pump
  • maximises energy storage but minimises space requirements – this ensures appliances can stow the full range of equipment meet the performance requirements
  • opportunities for vehicle to vehicle charging

Alternative pumping solutions are also welcomed – these could vary from a standalone portable device to a solution that utilises existing street infrastructure or a mixture of both. Portable pumping units would need to be powered by zero emission or fossil fuel free solutions.

Proposals are welcome for:

  • Existing market-ready technologies
  • Established solutions from other sectors of industry which can be adapted for this application
  • Development proposals based on existing competences
  • Post-TRL 5 academic project

Potential solutions may come from:

  • Automotive
  • Rail
  • Power electronics
  • Aerospace/aviation
  • Marine engineering
  • Construction
  • Energy and Infrastructure
  • Or any other relevant sector

Rewards and benefits

Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the Challenger. The package may also include:

  • Support from the KTN and wider Innovations Networks within KTN
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot (if suitable)
  • Access to open discussions with the wider Greater London Authority family
  • A place in KTN or Innovate UK events
  • A potential business collaboration that including Innovate UK grant applications

Solution Requirements

Functional Requirements

  • Solution is required to provide energy to power an estimated 90 kW continuous pump for 4 hours
  • Solution must have the ability to be employed across London
  • Solution could be modular
  • The solution must be zero emission or zero emission capable
  • The solution must be easy to maintain

Technical Characteristics  

  • Pump peak power is estimated at/approximately 90 KW
  • If a local source of energy is suggested, the available street side current must be assumed as the available source.

Operating Conditions

  • Units need to be available in all weathers – both wet and dry, and temperature extremes.
  • Units must produce a constant flow at the required output(90 kW) when full pumping is needed.
  • Units will have to travel London city streets and be manoeuvrable.

Deployment Timescale  

  • Launch of the Competition: 4th February 2021
  • Deadline for applications: 4th March 2021
  • Selection and notification of finalists: 17th March 2021
  • Solutions should be prepared to be deployable within 12 months of the presentation day

Cost requirement and market opportunity

  • A commercialisation plan is desired for LFB to get a cost model for future deployment.
  • The opportunity is for the chosen organisation(s) to present to a panel including London Fire Brigade their proposed solution to this Innovation Exchange challenge
  • Following this there maybe opportunities to further engage with LFB via suitable grants or commercial arrangements

Eligibility and assessment criteria

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
  • UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Relevance to the topic
  • Innovative nature of the subject
  • Coherence of the proposed business model
  • Feasibility/ economic viability
  • Development potential
  • Maturity of project/solution
  • Ability to launch project quickly/Ease of implementation
  • Price/quality ratio
  • Suitability for the UK and European Market

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