According to the German Association of the Automotive Industry ( VDA ), around three-quarters of freight traffic in Germany is currently handled by trucks, and the trend is rising. A company from the Hamburg metropolitan region wants to ensure that the loads are transported in a more environmentally friendly way in the future . Clean Logistics from Winsen an der Luhe specializes in developing and marketing alternative drives for the logistics industry. The Lower Saxony joint venture start-up is converting heavy diesel trucks so that in the future they will be equipped with a hydrogen hybrid drive. The Federal Ministry of Transport has just handed over a donation notice of 3.3 million euros to Clean Logistics for the implementation of this idea.
A range of up to 500 kilometers is expected
The companies Höpen, HARY and Proton Motors founded Clean Logistics together with the aim of developing zero-emission drives . The managing directors Dirk Graszt and Dirk Lehmann say that they can get the first converted trucks onto the streets in the third quarter of next year, thanks to the support of the German government “significantly faster than expected”. This is likely to be of great interest itself: making freight transport by road much more environmentally friendly is also crucial to the goals of the Paris climate protection agreement, The entrepreneurs see great potential in the business: Around 600,000 trucks weighing more than twelve tons are registered in Germany alone, and more than two million in Europe.
The company is currently concentrating on “heavy” trucks weighing 40 tons. According to the managing directors, they will initially have a range of 400 to 500 kilometers with a hydrogen hybrid drive , but this can be increased significantly later. The conversion of a standard tractor unit, including funding (from the federal government) in the amount of 50,000 euros, costs around 260,000 euros as a series vehicle.
The hydrogen required is generated by wind power
The diesel and auxiliary units are dismantled from the existing trucks, so that the vehicles can be turned into what are known as HyBat trucks, as the company calls the hydrogen-powered trucks. “This conversion can also be carried out by certified cooperation partners,” says managing director Dirk Graszt. “This will enable us to handle larger quantities in the future.” The hydrogen required for the operation should be generated in an environmentally friendly manner by wind power.
For this purpose, Clean Logistics wants to rent wind turbines and make the production of hydrogen-free of charge as an operator. “From the end of 2020, thousands of older wind turbines will no longer be eligible for EEG funding,” says managing director Dirk Lehmann. “That is potentially 1,500 to 2,500 plants for the production of hydrogen in northern Germany alone.” The resulting hydrogen is filled into so-called trailers, and the vehicles are then refueled using a mobile tank system.