Daimler Truck and ZF advance fuel cell technology

Daimler Truck and ZF advance fuel cell technology

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Together with TotalEnergies, Daimler Truck AG wants to develop a hydrogen infrastructure for heavy trucks. The cooperation includes hydrogen procurement including the associated logistics, the supply of hydrogen to filling stations, the development of hydrogen-based trucks, the establishment of a customer base and other areas.

TotalEnergies has the ambition to directly or indirectly operate up to 150 hydrogen filling stations in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France by 2030. As part of the cooperation, Daimler Truck also intends to supply hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks to its customers in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France by 2025. The truck manufacturer will support its customers in ensuring easy and competitive operation of the vehicles.

In order to further develop these projects and establish hydrogen in road freight transport, both companies also want to investigate the possibilities of reducing the total cost of ownership of a hydrogen truck. To this end, they also want to cooperate with the authorities that regulate the corresponding legal framework within the European Union. Daimler Truck and TotalEnergies are also members of the H2Accelerate consortium. The two companies are fully committed to working with the consortium, which supports the introduction of hydrogen-powered transport in Europe in the coming decade.

Karin Rådström, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG: “We are fully committed to the Paris Climate Agreement and want to actively contribute to the decarbonisation of road freight transport in the European Union. For long-haul transport, in addition to purely battery-electric trucks, we also see hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in particular as CO2-neutral solutions. For this, we want to build a hydrogen infrastructure in Europe together with partners such as TotalEnergies and I am firmly convinced that this will be essential for establishing fuel cell trucks in the transport sector.”

Fuel cell: Road to electrification of heavy commercial vehicles

ZF, together with the technology company Freudenberg, the long-haul bus operator Flixbus and the non-profit organisation Atmosfair, is participating in the German Federal Ministry of Transport’s HyFleet R&D project on fuel cell technology. The aim is to design and test a purely electrically powered coach. The project is scheduled to run for three years and is intended to determine important findings for the optimal use of fuel cells in coaches.

The partners are relying on ZF’s broad technology portfolio and expertise in the field as well as Freudenberg’s experience with fuel cells. “We want to significantly develop both the durability and the efficiency of the technology and thus set standards for total cost of ownership,” says Claus Möhlenkamp, CEO of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies.

The feasibility study is intended to help optimise fuel cell drives for heavy commercial vehicles. Specifically, it is about the respective dimensioning of battery and fuel cell, the cooling concept of the system and the load peaks to be considered for the drive system during operation. ZF is contributing its expertise in purely electric commercial vehicle drives – including power electronics and the software-based control of all energy consumers. The consortium also benefits from the know-how of the ZF Group in numerous series projects in e-mobility for commercial vehicles.

In the HyFleet project, the focus is on a high practical benefit of the fuel cell drive; in addition to the energy efficiency of the drive, this also includes driving characteristics and handling, for example during hydrogen refuelling.

In addition to the HyFleet project, ZF and Freudenberg are jointly investigating further applications for the development of fuel cell solutions in the mobility sector and in industrial use.

Related articles:

Daimler Trucks launches intensive tests of fuel cell truck

Toyota to test hydrogen technology in “Woven City” model town

Stellantis introduces fuel cell drive for light trucks

Scottish project aims for hydrogen fuel cell train

“Fuel cells gain traction especially in commercial vehicles”

Bosch resolutely advocates hydrogen drive

Study: CO2 reduction targets require diversity in drive technology

Renault launches hydrogen JV, announces H2 light trucks

H2 sedan from France rolls towards start of series production

Toyota sets range record for hydrogen cars


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