Heavy-duty trucks take clean hydrogen to the next level

Heavy-duty trucks take clean hydrogen to the next level

Long distances and strict time requirements make it difficult for the long-distance trucking sector to decarbonise. Credit: Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen steadily in the EU in recent years, falling by more than a quarter between 1990 and 2019. However, transport is one sector that bucks this trend, regardless despite advances in technology.

long ago city ​​dwellers complain about air pollution and carbon emissions, they complain about piles of manure on the streets and attracting clouds of flies. In the 19th century, carriages were used to transport goods over long distances. While carbon emissions practically non-existent, horse manure is a big problem.

It was at the top of the agenda during the first International Urban Planning Conference in New York in 1898. Unfortunately, there was no solution to the horse pollution crisis.

Eventually, horses were replaced by other modes of transportation created by internal combustion engines – exchanging one type of pollution for another.

From horse to horsepower

It’s been a long ride from there to here. However, the transportation sector continues to generate large amounts of pollution, with Road traffic accounts for about one-fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions.

reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heavy vehicles such as cargo and garbage trucks, as well as buses and coaches, is a priority. This sector is responsible for a quarter of the EU’s CO2 emissions from road traffic, saw emissions increase by 29% between 1990 and 2019.

Andrew Flagg, senior consultant and project manager at Element Energy, a division of the multinational consulting firm Environmental Resource Management, said furthermore, emissions from trucks will increase by the ratio. proportional to the total emissions. This is because other vehicles are moving further with low-emission technology, through traditional electric batteries in cars.

“With decarbonization going on at a fairly rapid rate today for cars and buses, the emission rates of heavy-duty vehicles will increase,” he said. “So there’s a special need to accelerate the decarbonization of those vehicles.”

But trucks face challenges in use electricity compared to lighter vehicles. “The problem is that this sector is particularly difficult to decarbonise,” says Flagg.

For example, the long distances that trucks need to travel will create problems with battery charging frequency, charging speed as well as available charging infrastructure. Truck batteries can also be heavy and large, affecting how much cargo can be transported and how far they can travel before needing to be recharged.

Hydrogen mining

One answer is hydrogen energy, which uses a process in which hydrogen and oxygen are fed into a fuel cell to produce electricity. “With a higher energy density with hydrogen, you can have fewer batteries on a truck,” says Flagg. “This allows you to travel longer distances and deal with heavier loads.”

Hydrogen-powered vehicles can also quickly refuel in minutes. “As a fleet operator, you don’t want to spend a lot of time charging a vehicle,” says Flagg. “Hydrogen allows you to refuel much faster and therefore allows for flexible operation.”

Flagg says that while the technology has shown promise, so far it has tended to be deployed in smaller-scale rallies with a limited number of trucks. The H2Haul The project he leads plans to take things to the next level by deploying a fleet of 16 new heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell trucks.

They will be deployed in Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland in partnership with two major European truck manufacturers, IVECO and VDL. The technology’s performance will be assessed by driving the truck for more than one million kilometers in normal operations.

The first trucks will hit the road in the coming months, with all expected to be operational by the end of 2023. Performance data will then be collected and analyzed.

16 trucks, 6 refueling stations

Flagg said: “H2Haul is groundbreaking in that it has 16 trucks. “I’d say it’s the next step for European manufacturers to deploy trucks, increasing the number of trucks being developed and deploying fleets in different countries and operating environments. ”

To prove its viability, H2Haul is also developing six hydrogen refueling stations. Two are already in service in Switzerland, while others are expected in Belgium and France in the coming months and two in Germany by the end of 2023.

The researchers are now applying a similar approach to waste collection trucks. The REVIVAL the project is integrating fuel cell technology into 14 waste trucks that operate under real-world conditions for at least two years at a total of eight sites in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Dimitri Van den Borre, project manager at Tractebel Engineering in Brussels, Belgium, and REVIVE project leader said that with garbage trucks, hydrogen technology has tended to be deployed by small manufacturers so far. “What we need is bigger manufacturers coming into this market,” he said.

waste benefits

Using this technology in garbage trucks is expected to have several advantages. One is that they tend to drive a predetermined route from a single depot. “Vehicles operate in a limited area, and in this early stage of hydrogen deployment, such operations are very useful because they don’t need a lot of refueling stations,” said Van den Borre.

Waste trucks also often run in urban areas with low air quality and are easily seen by the public. This means residents experience the benefits of pollution and noise reduction firsthand.

Furthermore, organic waste from the incinerator can be used to generate hydrogen, creating a circular ‘waste to wheel’ pattern. And excess energy can be used to power other vehicles or industrial applications.

Currently, REVIVE has five trucks on the road that have run a total of more than 13 500 km to date. However, performance data is limited in the early stages, and more extensive results are likely to begin to emerge from next summer, Van den Borre said.

However, the trucks are in good working order. “It’s a nicer driving environment and they make less noise than conventional garbage collectors,” he said, adding that drivers have responded positively so far. “I think overall, they’re pretty happy with the truck and the technology. Technologically, everything is fine and the trucks are doing what they should.”

gain traction

But a host of challenges remain at this stage of development. Van den Borre lists the lack of regulations and directives on truck maintenance, as well as the limited number of existing hydrogen-equipped truck stocks as problems.

However, the industry has called for an expansion, while the EU moves to accelerate hydrogen development in October. Passing rules to promote alternative refueling infrastructure, MEP calls for hydrogen refueling stations every 100 km by 2028—increase the previous goal of every 150 kilometers by 2031.

Van den Borre thinks projects like REVIVE could open the door to larger initiatives, potentially leading to the hydrogen truck market developing properly over the next decade. But to increase traction for hydrogenfuel cells He added that the technology on the truck must not forget the driver himself.

“It’s not just about handing over the truck and keys to the driver, but getting them involved in the process,” he said. “You have to find motivated people, engage with them early on, and set their expectations right.”

quote: Heavy-duty trucks taking clean hydrogen to the next level (2022, December 15) get December 15, 2022 from Duty-trucks-hydrogen .html

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