Hyundai Fuel Cell truck is set to hit the roads in Switzerland
Hyundai Fuel Cell truck is set to hit the roads in Switzerland

 

Europe may be pushing for hydrogen fuel cell CVs, work in this regards is also being carried out in India.

Story by Bhushan Mhapralkar

The stakeholders of CV industry in Europe and government representatives of the European Union came together on March 05, 2020, at Sofitel Brussels to discuss paving the road to a carbon-neutral Europe through a shift to hydrogen fuel cell trucks. At the core was the need for dramatic changes in the transport sector to meet carbon neutrality targets foreseen by the Green Deal – a 90 per cent reduction in GHG transport emissions by 2050 to achieve climate neutrality, which could be achieved only by fully decarbonising the truck sector. Pointing at a directive on CO2 emission for heavy-duty vehicles, which sets ambitious targets for the most pollutant trucks, those that came together at Brussels steered the discussion in the direction of turning the big challenge of carbon neutrality by 2050 into an opportunity by investing heavily in innovative technologies such as hydrogen.

 

Attracting Indian CV manufacturers like Tata Motors to hydrogen fuel cell CVs are key indicators like driving range, shorter refuelling time and CO2 emission reduction potential. The Indian CV maker displayed a hydrogen fuel cell bus at its plant in Pune two years ago. Adding strength to the thought of hydrogen fuel cell CVs, a haulier from Netherlands expressed that the respective fuel mediums would provide better flexibility when compared to CVs running in electric-battery technology or catenary. Averred another logistics services provider from Germany that there is a dearth of fuel cell trucks that address their needs. A good number of transport industry stakeholders that gathered at Brussels were of the opinion that they would not hesitate to buy a fuel cell truck by 2030 given the developments that are witnessing. Most said that their trucks do on an average 500 km a day, and fuel cell technology would, therefore, work out to be advantageous. 

Marking the unveiling of a letter of intent  — ‘Joint call for the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell trucks: a needed shift towards a carbon-neutral society’ – with an aim to promote fuel cell trucks and show that the supply side is preparing to deploy the vehicles, all those who gathered at Brussels on March 05 were unanimous in their expression to have in place an efficient supply chain system to promote hydrogen fuel cell CVs. In India, the Starbus for city operation that Tata Motors displayed two years ago was developed in association with ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). In what would make it even more interesting, India’s largest power producer and a central PSU under Ministry of Power, NTPC Ltd, has invited global expression of interest (EoI) to provide 10 hydrogen fuel cell-based electric buses and an equal number of hydrogen fuel cell-based electric cars in Leh and Delhi with an aim to decarbonise mobility. Apart from private players in India, the Government too is keenly following the developments in hydrogen fuel domain in order to reduce emissions.

Keen to get the supply chain and the aftermarket arrangement right, Hyundai is looking at a combination of interests from different sectors, economies of scale and various other factors to achieve its hydrogen CV goals. With 43 major companies representing the whole supply chain to deliver carbon-neutral hydrogen freight pledging their support in terms of travel towards zero carbon emission in Europe, Switzerland, it is clear is at the forefront of activities. It is the nation in Europe that is poised to roll out heavy-duty hydrogen technology trucks before others could. The Hydrogen Congress at Brussels was an effort in part in the same direction no doubt, and it brought to speed the development that has been achieved until now. It also provided a glimpse of what could be achieved and by when.

Watch out for the detailed story in the upcoming July 2020 issue. 

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