Gothenburg-based Volvo Trucks said it has begun testing vehicles that use hydrogen fuel cells, with the Swedish company stating that they can have a range of up to 1,000 kilometres.
The company said: “Imagine a truck that emits nothing but water vapor and produces the necessary electricity within it and has a range of up to 1,000 kilometers through hydrogen fuel cells.”
The company offers battery-powered electric trucks and trucks powered by renewable fuels. In the second half of this decade, it is adding a third CO2 neutral option to its product portfolio.
According to the company, refueling vehicles takes less than 15 minutes. The total weight can reach about 65 tons or more. The fuel cell has the capacity to generate 300 kilowatts of electricity.
Pilot projects for clients are scheduled to begin in the next few years, with commercial planning planned for the latter part of this decade.
Fuel cells for vehicles are available by Cellcentric, a joint venture with Daimler Trucks that was formed in March 2021.
“Hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks are suitable for long distances and heavy-duty tasks that require a lot of power,” said the Volvo Trucks president. It can also be an option in countries where battery charging capabilities are limited.
In addition to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, Volvo Trucks, part of the Volvo Group, has developed battery electric trucks.
The issue of electrification of long range and heavy trucks presents a unique set of challenges. The International Energy Agency’s 2021 Global Outlook for Electric Vehicles describes long-distance trucking as requiring advanced technologies to charge high energy or large batteries.
Competition within the sector has increased in recent years. Volvo’s focus on zero-emission technologies puts the company in competition with companies such as Tesla and Daimler Trucks, both of which are developing electric trucks.
Volvo has been developing this technology for several years
Daimler Trucks focuses on battery electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles. ” Different technologies are appropriate in different scenarios, ” said the Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Trucks last year . And I think it’s very dangerous for a company of our size to go with just one technology.
There is excitement in some quarters about the potential of hydrogen-powered compounds. But there are hurdles when it comes to expanding the sector, a point which Volvo Trucks has acknowledged.
The company cited challenges including the widespread supply of green hydrogen as well as the fact that the refueling infrastructure for heavy vehicles has yet to be developed.
Described by the International Energy Agency as a versatile energy carrier, hydrogen has a variety of applications and can be deployed in a wide range of industries.
It can be produced in several ways. One method involves using electrolysis with an electric current that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen.
It is called green or renewable hydrogen if the electricity used in the process comes from a renewable source such as wind or solar energy. The vast majority of hydrogen generation today is based on fossil fuels.
The fuel cell generates electricity from the hydrogen contained within it rather than charging it from an external source. The only bi-product emitted is water vapor.
Volvo Construction Equipment also said it has begun testing a prototype of its hydrogen fuel cell articulated transport vehicle.