More than 14 tonnes of CO2 have been saved in a two-year trial involving 11 urban trucks and vans running on green hydrogen dual fuel.
The savings were achieved by the Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial (LEFT) project to investigate use of hydrogen-powered vehicles in the UK.
With between 20-45% of the diesel fuel being displaced by green hydrogen on the various vehicles, the HyTIME project concluded that with the appropriate hydrogen infrastructure, fleet wide roll-out could provide improvement in overall fleet emissions.
In the trial, ULEMCo – a company pioneering the adoption of ultra-low emission hydrogen fuel with its partners – converted four refuse trucks, a road sweeper, a patient transport vehicle, four panel vans and a refrigerated van to run on hydrogen as a dual fuel. During the trial period, nearly 60,000km were covered and 1,619kgs of hydrogen used. One of the partners working with ULEMCo on the HyTIME project was Aberdeen City Council, which took delivery of a hydrogen dual fuel road sweeper, as well as two Merc Econic refuse trucks, and has gone on to put several more of these on the roads since.
The trial demonstrated that the benefits would have been greater had the hydrogen infrastructure been more developed. When the vehicles were not using hydrogen in their day-to-day operations – from waste collection to patient transport and van deliveries etc – the principal reason was the lack of available refuelling facilities.
Project data show that the CO2 saving would have been about 45 tonnes per annum across the 11 vehicles.
Other conclusions from the work were that tail pipe emissions in a number of specific applications such as refuse trucks were significantly better than the Euro 6 base vehicles, with the NOx emissions reduced by between 29-85% across the range of cycles tested. If deployed full time, the vehicles would not only save carbon but also provide improvements to local air quality. At least 96% of the hydrogen used in the trial came from on-site electrolysis from renewable electricity.
The drivers and operators confirmed that, from an operational point of view, the vehicles fitted well with their daily operation, but said that reliability of the hydrogen infrastructure and fuel availability needed to be improved to get the most from the technology.
Amanda Lyne, managing director of ULEMCo, agreed: “The trial was an excellent opportunity for us to show the diverse range of commercial vehicles that can be hydrogen enabled. This provides a route to reducing GHG emissions significantly across fleets of heavy use and heavy duty vehicles without requiring the operators to make major changes to their usual operations. A number of the partners including Aberdeen City Council are continuing to use the vehicles at locations where the hydrogen infrastructure is more reliable. All partners agreed that if this was available for them too, they would have continued to do the same.”
ULEMCo and its partners believe that hydrogen technology should be seen as a key part of the UK’s energy strategy and post Covid-19 recovery plans. The company claims there is latent demand across a number of fleet customers that would help build the base loads and the commercial case for faster development of the fuelling infrastructure.
The trial was partly funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK, and included independent testing of the overall emissions of a number of the vehicles in the project.