Volvo Trucks begins testing hydrogen trucks on public roads

Hydrogen electric trucks and other vehicles are being developed by many companies. Solaris offers a hydrogen bus, Nikola may someday get into it properly (originally it was supposed to produce mainly hydrogen trucks, so far it mainly produces battery ones), Toyota also produces fuel cells, which is to supply them to the French startup Hyliko. The company also announced hydrogen trucks last year Volvo Trucks, and they will now look to public roads for a tough test of their abilities. To make it really challenging, they will drive beyond the arctic circle in the north of Sweden, where they will be in operation 7 days a week in all kinds of weather. Expect ice, wind and snow.

Volvo FH Fuel Cell Electric

According to Volvo, hydrogen versions should be more suitable for long distances, especially where battery versions are problematic. An example can be rural areas where there is not enough charging infrastructure (it is basically nowhere now, on the other hand, the question arises whether there will be a hydrogen infrastructure). To speed up development, Volvo is working with Daimler and hopes to have the cars commercially on the road in the second half of this decade. Understandably, it is expected that several years of real tests with selected real carriers will take place before the sharp sales start. The cars have two fuel cells with a total output of 300 kW.

There are several arguments in favor of hydrogen trucks. They can be refueled much faster than battery cars (they can use a mandatory break for this, if a sufficiently powerful charging infrastructure is provided, and this can be a problem both from the point of view of the number of stations and the amount of energy and distribution network needed – here but let’s remember that basically all electric truck manufacturers are already launching various joint ventures that take care of the construction of these rest stops with chargers all over Europe and the USA). Due to the absence of such a huge and heavy battery (although they also have a battery, but only a smaller balancing one), hydrogen cars are lighter and their carrying capacity is not reduced by a ton as with battery cars.

On the other hand, energy inefficiency is a problem with hydrogen. The production of green hydrogen using electricity is wasteful, not to mention the compression and conversion back to electricity in the fuel cell, and the energy needed for the entire hydrogen wheel to travel 100 km would make a battery car travel about 250 km. Put another way, hydrogen transportation would require building about 2.5 times as many power plants as battery power (unless we find another way that is both ecological and economical and does not involve electricity). At the same time, this does not mean that hydrogen is necessarily nonsense. Despite its lower efficiency, it can be a good repository for surpluses from RES and give them a little more meaning. Instead of solving the instability of renewable energy sources with an excess of batteries with a problematic environmental impact, it is possible to compensate for this by producing hydrogen, and then later use it to drive the hydrogen part of the vehicle fleet, especially where battery solutions are not very suitable.

Source: Svět hardware by

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