Leading European heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers, fuel cell suppliers, and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure providers announce a collaboration to develop and test fleets of zero-emission trucks and hydrogen refuelling stations.
Today, a European consortium announced the launch of the H2Haul project in which major European manufacturers IVECO, FPT Industrial powertrain producer and VDL ETS will design, build, and test three new types of fuel cell heavy-duty trucks, including rigid and articulated vehicles up to 44 tonnes. Fuel cell systems for the vehicles will be produced in Europe by three different suppliers – ElringKlinger (DE), Hydrogenics (DE), and Powercell (SE) – and the project will make a significant contribution towards preparing the market for further deployment of the technology in the 2020s and contribute to the 2030 EU CO2 reduction target attainment.
Sixteen vehicles will be tested in real-world operations at sites in Belgium, France, Germany, and Switzerland. The innovative hydrogen refuelling stations to be deployed will offer rapid, high capacity fuelling and thus support the demonstration of how fuel cell trucks can operate as direct replacements for diesel vehicles, with the equivalent driving range and load capacity, but with zero emissions.
The project, coordinated by Element Energy, has been made possible by a grant of €12 million from the European Commission via the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU). The project consortium also includes the following organisations: Air Liquide, Eoly, H2 Energy, Hydrogen Europe, IRU Projects, THINKSTEP, WaterstofNet.
Pierpaolo Biffali, Product Engineering Vice President of FPT Industrial, declared: ‘For FPT Industrial, the H2Haul project is strategic to lead the European zero-emission truck sector by developing the fuel cell electric vehicle as a viable solution for long-haul logistics, with direct access to urban areas, thus offering a key contribution to decarbonise the commercial transportation and to improve air quality of European cities, together with hydrogen production by using renewable energy.
Menno Kleingeld, Managing Director of VDL Enabling Transport Solutions (VDL ETS), said: ‘Since the introduction of VDL’s first electric public transport bus in 2013 we have a strong focus on climate-resilient electric heavy-duty vehicles. Early on, VDL has already invested in the application of hydrogen as a sustainable energy source for long haul transport solutions. Being part of this European H2Haul consortium to further decarbonise the heavy-duty vehicle market fits in our e-mobility strategy. Through H2Haul, VDL, together with respected partners, is intending to gain more insight into the economic applicability of hydrogen sustainable transport solutions for the heavy-duty market. The hydrogen fuel cell system will be based on the modular construction method that VDL uses for its vehicles which means that the system can be easily integrated into other heavy-duty applications. It is strategically important for the European transport manufacturing industries to come up with an economic resource-efficient mass-deployable hydrogen system for the long-haul heavy-duty transport market which will reduce the dependency on fossil fuels’
Ben Madden, Director of Element Energy, stated: ‘There is a growing need for zero-emission vehicles across all transport modes, and fuel cell electric trucks offer the potential to make a significant contribution to decarbonising the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) sector when refuelled with renewable hydrogen. The H2Haul project is strategically important as it brings together several leading suppliers who will develop and test the vehicles and infrastructure required for hydrogen-fuelled HGVs to become a mainstream choice for logistics providers seeking to reduce the environmental impact of their operations.’
Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the FCH JU, said: ‘At EU level heavy-duty vehicles account for 27% of the road transport CO2 emissions; the need of introducing innovative powertrains based clean energy is obvious and urgent. The H2Haul project will play a key role in demonstrating how fuel cells and hydrogen are perfectly suited for decarbonising the road transport segment while supporting the European value chain leadership in this domain.’