Proton Motor Power Systems plc announced on January 9 2019 that it has signed a joint venture agreement with Höpen GmbH and Hary AG to establish a company by the name of Clean Logistics in Hamburg, Germany. The company is set out to build heavy-duty trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The Joint Venture applied for financial aid from federal programmes to develop its first prototypes with additional funding to support orders of up to 1,000 vehicles by the end of 2021. “We are pleased with this venture.  In 2016 alone, in excess of 300,000 trucks in the ‘over 5 tonnes’ weight category were produced in the European Union, which were nearly all powered by diesel fuel.” said Helmut Gierse,the chairman of Proton Power Systems. “If even a small proportion of this market was converted to electric / fuel cell over the coming years, Clean Logistics will be able to benefit from it, and Proton’s current production facility could be fully utilised.”

While there is strong focus on hydrogen fuel cell trucks in the US, Swedish transport firm Scania is developing a hydrogen fuel cell refuse truck with the waste handling company Renova. Scania is among a number of companies looking to develop and launch hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in Europe. Able to travel at a speed up to 140 km/h, Scania’s fuel cell trucks have a range 500 km. A study done by ICCT (International Council on Clean Transportation) assessed the 2015 – 2030 time frame, excluding infrastructure costs, whereby hydrogen heavy-duty fuel-cell vehicles are estimated to have a 22% lower total cost to own, operate and fuel than diesel vehicles with lifecycle CO2 emissions reductions of  72% for hydrogen fuel cell as compared with a 2015 conventional diesel baseline. Scania’s project is being implemented in cooperation with the Swedish Energy Agency and Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology and the fuel cell refuse truck is expected to be delivered in the end of 2019.

Last year in the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hanover Germany, Hyundai announced to build 1,000 commercial fuel cell electric trucks to be operated in Switzerland beginning of 2019. Compared to conventional trucks driving in about 10 kilometers per liter (diesel), hydrogen-powered trucks can drive on 16.5 kilometers per liter of H2 with a driving range of up to 400 km.  The 1,000 trucks can potentially save up a total to 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per kilometer by 2030, for a heavy-duty truck of 29,000 kg. The delivery of the first trucks will be at the end of 2019 and the total order of 1,000 trucks will be completed by 2023.

A collaboration between Toyota Motor North America and Kenworth Truck Company  has been made after a preliminary grant awarded by the California Air Resource Board (ARB) as part of a $41 million Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF) project to develop 10 heavy-duty zero-emission Kenworth T680 trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains by Toyota to haul freight to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California with a driving range of of up to 300 miles in normal drayage conditions (based on 60 kg of Hydrogen). The grant is part of a larger $82 million program that will put fuel cell electric tractors, hydrogen fueling infrastructure with zero-emissions cargo handling equipment into operation in the ports of Los Angeles as well as basins by 2020. The trucks will be assembled at the Toyota Motor Corp. research center in Michigan.

The goal set by ARB, as part of the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan, is to have zero emissions by 2035 for the approximate 16,000 drayage trucks that move in and out of the port complex on a daily basis, making it the country’s largest. “If we could change these 16,000 trucks into zero-emission vehicles, we could do a lot of good for the communities along the I-710 corridor,” said Andrew Lund, chief engineer for product development for Toyota. The ZANZEFF project will provide a large-scale plan to structure the operations for the movement of goods. The initiative will help reduce emissions by around 465 tonnes of Greenhouse Gas and 0.72 tonnes of NOx, ROG and PM10.


Photo: Courtesy of Proton Motor Fuel Cells GmbH