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2023

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Fuel Cell Trucks: Daimler Truck Builds Customer-Oriented Test Fleet of Mercedes-Benz GENH2 Trucks

Author:

Daimler


 

The companies Amazon, Air Products, Holcim, INEOS and Wiedmann & Winz are expected to gain initial experience with fuel cell vehicles from mid-2024.


The five articulated trucks will be used in Germany on specific routes and in various applications in long-distance transport.


The vehicles are refuelled at designated public liquid hydrogen filling stations (sLH2) in Wörth am Rhein and in the Duisburg area.


Andreas Gorbach, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG, responsible for Truck Technology: “With this first customer fleet, we are now also testing our fuel cell truck in real customer operation. It’s a win-win situation for both sides: our customers get to know the fuel cell drive in daily use, and our development team gains further valuable insights into customer needs and relevant use cases and can take them into account for series development.”


Leinfelden-Echterdingen–Daimler Truck is entering the next phase of development on the way to decarbonizing transport with hydrogen-powered trucks. After intensive testing on the test track and on public roads, the fuel cell vehicles are now at an advanced stage of development maturity so that they can be used for the first customer-oriented driver tests. In this next step, Daimler Truck is building up a customer-oriented test fleet of Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Trucks. It is expected that from mid-2024, the companies Amazon, Air Products, Holcim, INEOS and Wiedmann & Winz will take advantage of the opportunity to gain initial experience in CO2-free long-distance transport with fuel cell vehicles.


The five articulated trucks are used in Germany on specific routes and in various applications in long-distance transport, for example in the transport of building materials, sea containers or cylinder gases. The GenH2 trucks will remain under the direct support and responsibility of Mercedes-Benz Trucks during customer-oriented testing. The vehicles are refuelled at designated public liquid hydrogen filling stations (sLH2) in Wörth am Rhein and in the Duisburg area. In this way, Daimler Truck and its partner companies are creating a lighthouse project and showing that decarbonized transport with hydrogen-powered trucks is already possible today. However, in order for the transformation towards the transport of goods with hydrogen drives to work sustainably, it will be important in the coming years to ensure a nationwide and global refuelling infrastructure as well as a sufficient supply of green liquid hydrogen.


Andreas Gorbach, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG, responsible for Truck Technology: “With this first customer fleet, we are now also testing our fuel cell truck in real customer operation. It’s a win-win situation for both sides: our customers get to know the fuel cell drive in daily use, and our development team gains further valuable insights into customer needs and relevant use cases and can take them into account for series development.”


Amazon, Air Products, Holcim, INEOS and Wiedmann & Winz want to gain experience in customer-oriented testing


Wiedmann & Winz from Geislingen an der Steige will be one of these first companies to use the GenH2 Truck in combined transport. For the international logistics service provider DP World, the alternatively powered vehicle will transport sea containers in pre- and on-carriage to industrial and commercial customers. Managing Director Dr. Micha Lege sees a wide range of potential and possible applications for the innovation leader, especially on longer routes in European land transport: “Our company has always been interested in innovations, as Wiedmann & Winz was one of the first companies to focus on telematics and digitalization in transport with FleetBoard. Recently, we have also been using an eActros 300 as a semitrailer tractor in our day-to-day haulage operations. Now we are looking forward to taking the next step and testing the GenH2 Truck, a long-haul truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells.”


John H. Landwehr, whose logistics company Gerdes + Landwehr transports dusty granules in silo trucks and minerals in tipper vehicles for the building materials industry, among other things, adds: “In our bulk logistics, payload has always played an essential role in terms of CO2 footprint and efficiency. After extensive tests with battery-electric trucks, we are incredibly pleased to be able to continue testing the path to sustainable transport of the future with a hydrogen-powered truck. Only with our own intensive experience can we make the right decisions for the change in our Group that will begin in 2025.”


Caroline Stancell, General Manager Hydrogen for Mobility, Europe and Africa, Air Products, explains: “Air Products plans to convert its entire global fleet to hydrogen-powered vehicles and is proud to be involved in this flagship project with Daimler Truck, a leader in heavy-duty transport and decarbonisation. The Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck will be used in our existing fleet for the transport of cylinder gases, which will allow us to gain valuable experience in the field of industrial gas transport. We are also proud to provide Daimler Truck with part of the necessary refueling infrastructure as well as the hydrogen as part of the trial. Our latest mobile filling station for liquid hydrogen will be used for the project in the Duisburg area and can therefore be tested under real conditions.”


INEOS and VERVAEKE plan to use the GenH2 truck to transport bulk PVC materials: “We are delighted to be part of the customer-oriented trials of fuel cell technology. Hydrogen is a game-changing energy source that will transform trucking and help us achieve a zero-emission future. As a user and producer of hydrogen, INEOS is in a unique position to support this transformation. Together with our logistics partner VERVAEKE, we are delighted to support Daimler Truck,” said Wouter Bleukx, Business Director Hydrogen at INEOS Inovyn. Frédéric Derumeaux, CEO of VERVAEKE, adds: “I am excited about this project, which fits perfectly into our strategy to drastically reduce CO2 emissions. Powering heavy-duty trucks with liquid hydrogen is a revolutionary and decisive step forward. As a leading transport company, we have an important role to play and this unique collaboration with INEOS and Daimler Truck helps us to test truly zero-emission logistics.”


Andreas Marschner, Vice President, Amazon Transportation Services: “Amazon is continuously working to becomeCO2-neutral by 2040. The decarbonization of our transportation network plays a critical role in achieving this milestone. All logistics players – from manufacturers to energy companies to operators – must therefore continue to invest, experiment and innovate. We look forward to participating in this pilot and learning from it.”


Customer-oriented testing with new liquid hydrogen technology (sLH2)


In the development of hydrogen-based drives, Daimler Truck prefers liquid hydrogen. In this aggregate state, the energy carrier not only has a significantly higher energy density compared to gaseous hydrogen, but transport costs can also be significantly reduced. As a result, more hydrogen can be transported, which significantly increases the range and consequently enables the vehicle’s performance to be comparable to that of a conventional diesel truck. In addition, liquid hydrogen tanks offer advantages over gaseous pressurized hydrogen in terms of cost and weight. For example, the use of liquid hydrogen enables a higher payload, among other things.


For the first time, the customer-oriented test fleet will use the so-called “sLH2 technology” (sLH 2 = “subcooled” liquid hydrogen), a new refuelling process for liquid hydrogen. It was developed in collaboration with Linde and has an ISO standard that is freely available to all interested companies. Compared to LH2, the innovative approach enables, among other things, an even higher storage density and easier refueling within 10-15 minutes. At the beginning of 2024, the companies plan to refuel a fuel cell truck for the first time at a pilot station in Wörth am Rhein. Daimler Truck and its partners are focusing on a high degree of transparency and openness around the relevant interfaces in the development of sLH2 technology. By getting as many other companies and associations as possible involved in the development of the new liquid hydrogen standard, the aim is to establish a global mass market for the new process.


GenH2 Truck test vehicle with comparable performance data of conventional long-haul trucks


The developers at Daimler Truck have based the GenH2 Truck on the characteristics of the conventional Mercedes-Benz Actros long-haul truck in terms of tractive power, range and performance. The Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck vehicles used in the customer-oriented tests offer a gross vehicle weight of 40 tonnes with a payload of around 25 tonnes. This high payload and long range are achieved by two special liquid hydrogen tanks as well as a particularly powerful fuel cell system from the company cellcentric. They are at the heart of the GenH2 Truck.


The two liquid hydrogen stainless steel tanks, each with a high capacity of 44 kilograms, are very suitable for long distances. The stainless steel tank system consists of two interlocking tubes that are connected to each other and vacuum-insulated.


The fuel cell system of the GenH2 Truck delivers 300 kW (2 x 150 kW), and a built-in battery provides an additional 400 kW for a limited time. The storage capacity of the battery is comparatively low at 70 kWh, as the battery is not switched on for the energy requirement, but mainly for situational power support of the fuel cell. This happens, for example, during peak loads during acceleration or when driving uphill with a full load. At the same time, the lightweight battery allows for more payload and is charged by braking and excess fuel cell energy. The core element of the sophisticated operating strategy of the fuel cell and battery system is a cooling and heating system that keeps all components at the appropriate operating temperature. This allows for the highest possible longevity. In a pre-production version, the two electric motors are designed for a total of 2 x 230 kW continuous and 2 x 330 kW maximum output.


As recently as September of this year, Daimler Truck successfully demonstrated that hydrogen fuel cell technology can be a right solution for the decarbonization of flexible and demanding long-distance road transport. A prototype of the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck approved for public road use covered a distance of 1,047 km on a single tank of liquid hydrogen as part of the Daimler Truck #HydrogenRecordRun. The Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck is expected to be ready for series production in the second half of the decade.


Daimler Truck is consistently pursuing a dual strategy with hydrogen and battery-powered vehicles


As one of the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturers, Daimler Truck is committed to the Paris Climate Agreement. The aim is to offer only climate-neutral new vehicles in operation in the global core markets (Europe, USA, Japan) by 2039. Battery-electric trucks are the right choice for distribution transport and, in the case of the Mercedes-Benz eActros 600, for long-distance transport when used regularly on plannable routes with suitable distances and charging options. Trucks with fuel cells can be the better solution, especially for very flexible and particularly demanding applications in heavy-duty and long-distance transport. In addition, the availability of appropriate infrastructure and the availability of sufficient green electricity and green hydrogen is crucial for a successful transition to CO2-free technologies. Daimler Truck is convinced that both technologies are the only way to meet this energy demand quickly and cost-effectively.

 

Source:Daimler
 

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