Could fuel-cell conversions help clean up long-haul diesel trucking?

Along with constructing new zero-emission vehicles, what if older diesel vehicles had been transformed to hydrogen fuel-cell energy? Two such initiatives had been introduced earlier this week.

Daimler Truck North America and diesel-engine producer Cummins will replace older Daimler-built Freightliner Cascadia semi vehicles with Cummins-supplied fuel-cell powertrains, the 2 corporations introduced Wednesday.

The businesses plan to have the primary vehicles prepared by 2024. By then, Daimler additionally expects to have ramped up manufacturing of the battery-electric eCascadia, which was unveiled in production-ready type the identical day because the fuel-cell announcement.

Freightliner Cascadia semi truck

Startup Hyzon Motors is pitching its personal fuel-cell conversion program as a option to get cleaner vehicles on the street extra shortly. The corporate mentioned in a press launch that, because of supply-chain points, the present wait time for a brand new truck chassis is as much as 16 months. Changing present chassis supplies a shortcut.

Hyzon plans to supply 110-kw and 200-kw fuel-cell stacks. It mentioned examples of the latter will start testing by the tip of 2022, with a industrial launch after that. The stacks will probably be manufactured at Hyzon’s Illinois manufacturing unit.

Hyzon Motors hydrogen fuel-cell stack

Hyzon Motors hydrogen fuel-cell stack

Different corporations have expressed curiosity in constructing new fuel-cell vehicles. In 2021, Basic Motors and Navistar introduced plans to construct 2,000 fuel-cell semis “within the close to time period.” Toyota and Kenworth have been demonstrating “Undertaking Portal” prototypes in drayage service on the Ports of Los Angeles and Lengthy Seaside for just a few years at this level.

Maybe probably the most bold is the California Gas Cell Partnership commerce group, which plans to place 70,000 fuel-cell vehicles on the street by 2035, supported by 200 newly-built hydrogen stations.

However whereas industrial vehicles are seen as a extra viable choice for gas cells than passenger vehicles at this level, it is doable that even that window of alternative is closing. Battery-electric automobiles will doubtless have sufficient vary for all however long-haul purposes, latest evaluation claimed, leaving fuel-cell vehicles as a small area of interest.

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