The H2Accelerate collaboration has today confirmed that its members have secured funding for two of their primary initiatives: the deployment of eight heavy-duty hydrogen refuelling stations under the Connecting Europe Facility and a 150 fuel cell truck project funded by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership. These projects will enable trucks and refuelling equipment to be tested under real-world conditions, and are expected to be a crucial step towards the mass commercialisation of the technology.
The H2Accelerate TRUCKS project is an innovative collaboration among three of the leading global OEMs (Daimler Truck, Volvo Group, and Iveco Group), Finnish research institution VTT, International Road Transport Union (IRU), Romanian National Union of Road Transporters (UNTRR), Italian (Federazione Italiana Autotrasportatori Professionali – FIAP), Austrian (WKÖ) associations, and Element Energy France (an ERM Group company). The project will be coordinated by SINTEF, Norway’s leading research institute on hydrogen technologies. H2Accelerate TRUCKS is also supported by energy infrastructure providers, including Shell, TotalEnergies, and Everfuel.
Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, said of the announcement:
“We are delighted to provide funding support to the H2Accelerate TRUCKS project, a flagship project which will pave the way for the commercialisation of Europe’s hydrogen trucking system. It is especially auspicious that these 150 vehicles deployed within this project will be supported by an expanding network of hydrogen refuelling stations, which will include the H2Accelerate Inaugural Station Deployment project that has been selected to receive EU funding support. Through both projects, we can witness first-hand how different funding programmes can work together to accelerate the realisation of a hydrogen trucking ecosystem in Europe.”
This project will fund the deployment of 150 fuel cell trucks across Europe by the mid-to-late 2020s, allowing development of the technology towards series manufacturing of the vehicles by the three major OEMs in the second half of the decade. The trucks to be deployed in the first stage are expected to be either 4×2 or 6×2, with up to 44 tonne capacity and long ranges of at least 600km.
The funding granted by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership of €30M will enable the coordinated roll-out of heavy-duty, zero-emission vehicles fuelled by green hydrogen, bringing zero emission targets for transport closer. The trucks will be deployed with trusted customers of the OEMs and tested in real world conditions over several years in order to demonstrate and assess their technical and economic performance. Results from the project will be used to set the scene for large scale fuel cell truck deployment in the coming years.
Benefiting from the success of the H2Accelerate TRUCKS project, is the H2Accelerate Inaugural Station Deployment (ISD) project. As announced in September, this project was successful in its bid to the Connecting Europe Facility Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Funding call for funding to support the deployment of eight hydrogen refuelling stations in France and the Netherlands. Each station will have higher capacity (>1 tonne/day) than any public stations currently in operation and aim for ultra-high levels of availability through the use of N+1 redundancy in station design (whereby key pieces of equipment are duplicated in station design to minimise downtime in the event that one component fails). Stations will be positioned along key TEN-T transport corridors, allowing easy access for truck end users driving on major highways.
The H2Accelerate ISD comes as the first in a series of planned deployments of hydrogen refuelling stations as part of Phase 1 of the H2Accelerate collaboration. H2Accelerate infrastructure members intend to complement this initial network with the further deployment of stations along strategic corridors between Scandinavia and Northern Italy in future. The stations will service the growing fleet of hydrogen fuelled heavy-duty vehicles, including those deployed by the H2Accelerate TRUCKS project.
Giandomenico Fioretti, Head of Alternative Propulsion Business Development at IVECO Truck Business Unit, said of the H2Accelerate TRUCKS project:
“Iveco Group has a history of being among the first to hit unchartered territory, in fact we have been pioneer of alternative propulsions for more than twenty years. Hydrogen is an exciting energy vector for the sustainable future of heavy-duty vehicles, as this technology offers the best trade-off between autonomy range, payload and recharging time. Today we are proud of the work we will undertake with our partners in the ground-breaking H2Accelerate TRUCKS project, and with the support of Clean Hydrogen Partnership funding, to provide a tangible contribution in paving the way for the technical and commercial viability of long-haul hydrogen trucking.”
Approval of these projects for funding by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership and the Connecting Europe Facility indicate the high level of maturity of the plans and the strategic importance of developing the hydrogen trucking sector in Europe. The funding is expected to enable the synchronised deployment of both heavy-duty vehicles and refuelling infrastructure, removing the barrier to first mover action commonly linked to complex projects such as these. This will contribute to a growing network of funded projects propelling the hydrogen value chain.
Through the H2Accelerate collaboration, the technology, geography, and timescales of fuel cell truck and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure can be synchronised, providing security of supply for end users and de-risking the necessary large-scale investments for OEMs and infrastructure providers alike. This will enable the development of relevant technologies and standards, paving the way for the wider roll-out of hydrogen trucks throughout Europe and the eventual industrialisation of the hydrogen trucking sector.