Electrification of road and rail traffic presently seek new solutions enabled by on-board fuel cells that delivers power to electric motors without emissions of air pollutants and green-house gases. Most challenging has in the past been development of sufficiently energy efficient propulsion solutions in a life cycle perspective. Taking into account production, distribution and storage of hydrogen. In addition, there are on-board technical challenges with fuel cells and hydrogen fuel tanks linked to vibrations, safety etc. Apparently, the beliefs in these solutions now seem to increase as several studies and pilot solutions are launched:
- The Swedish rail track ”Inlandsbanan” from Kristinehamn to Gällivare today uses diesel locomotives now presents an ambition to swap to electrified trains running on electrcity from fuel cells based on hydrogen. The electrification of this rail track has for a long time been an ambition but have not received sufficient political support. This alternative electrification strategy may serve as a solution. The idea comes from German Niedersachsen where the train model Coradia iLint from Alstom is used as a locomotive. The locomotive is fuelled by hydrogen from a mobile tank station and the train carries 300 passengers. At full tank it has a range of 800 km at a speed of 140 km/h
- Scania is presently developing a new garbage handling truck for Renova in Gothenburg and four distribution trucks for the Norwegian company Asko, all driven by fuel cells and hydrogen. In these trucks the propulsion system will be fully electric. In 2020 the truck will be delivered to Renova for integration of fuel cell system and hydrogen tanks. The vehicle weight is 27 ton. The Swedish company Powercell delivers the fuel cell system with an effect of 100 kW. In the truck there will in addition be a battery pack of 56 kWh Lithium-ion batteries. The electric motor will deliver a continuous effect of 210 kW. The hydrogen is stored at 350 bars in tanks placed behind the cabin. 33 kilo of hydrogen enables a range of 400-500 kilometres. The range need of these type of vehicles is significantly less but the vehicle requires energy for the waste handling. Apart from zero emissions a main advantage is less traffic noise.
- The American Nikola motor company that develops electric trucks and fuel cells recently launched a partnership with Iveco. In this partnership Nikola Tre will be produced in Ivecos plant in Ulm, Germany. The aim is zero emission in long distance traffic. Through investments of 40 million Euros the plant will be upgraded for start of this production by During this year the first Nikola Tre trucks will be delivered. Initially the electric motor will be supplied by batteries. The fuel cell version will be tested in the EU-funded project H2Haul during 2021 and estimated to deliver trucks during 2023.