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Germany: Essen’s Clean Future-EBE Testing Various Clean Fuels Including Hydrogen for Waste Collection and Street Cleaning

By September 14, 2020 6   min read  (996 words)

September 14, 2020 |

Essen Clean Energy
  • In action for Essen: EBE uses and tests various alternative drives

The waste collection and street cleaning of the future should be done without fossil fuels if possible.

The conversion of the vehicle fleets would not only significantly reduce CO2 emissions, but also fine dust emissions and, last but not least, noise pollution would be a thing of the past with battery-electric and fuel cell drives. The waste disposal company in Essen (EBE) is already working on the necessary conversion and is repeatedly testing commercial vehicles with alternative drives for their suitability for everyday use. The goal: to become greener and gradually convert the fleet.

Measuring for the individual hydrogen vehicle
The Faun Econic rear loader (drum structure), a refuse collection vehicle that has been used in the areas of residual and organic waste collection, is full of measurement technology. It is still diesel-powered and, so to speak, the harbinger of the “Faun BLUEPOWER”, a hydrogen-powered vehicle. Using sensors on the fill, body and driver’s cab, it measures a number of parameters on topography, access points, routes and dumping processes in the respective areas during the entire tour. For this purpose, the measuring vehicle was used on six days in six different areas in Essen.

After this measurement data, the perfect Essen hydrogen vehicle can now be configured: It would be precisely tailored to Essen’s requirements in terms of energy package, fuel cell and hydrogen reservoir. FAUN designed its concept in a modular way, it is a kind of hybrid vehicle with electric drive: The basis is an 85 kWh battery pack, which can be supplemented by a modular design with up to 3 x 30 kW fuel cells as additional units (range extender).

Attractive technology for the city: quiet and pollutant-free
As a quiet, pollutant-free technology, the hydrogen drive is very attractive for use in the city. However, it will still be some time before this technology of the future arrives at EBE: there is currently no waste collection vehicle with a hydrogen drive that is ready for series production. The first manufacturer plans to start series production in 2021 at the earliest. Currently, the price per vehicle is three to four times higher than for conventional diesel vehicles – economically not feasible for an entire fleet. But: If more and more hydrogen vehicles are sold, the price is likely to drop significantly. Nevertheless, the delivery times for hydrogen vehicles will be enormous.

Natural gas garbage trucks will soon improve the air in Essen
As early as the turn of the year 2021, the EBE vehicle fleet will have a clean addition: five refuse collection vehicles powered by natural gas are expected on the horse-drawn railway road. In autumn 2019, the EBE tested two vehicle types and found one to be suitable. The three rear loaders for emptying the bins and two bulky refuse vehicles run on pure natural gas (compressed natural gas, CNG) and thus save food pollutants. Compared to a diesel vehicle, they produce up to 90 percent less carbon dioxide and up to 60 percent less nitrogen oxide. A good view for the residents as well as for the employees working on the vehicle.

Essen Clean Energy Insert

Florian Weiskirch (Supervisory Board Member EBE), Dirk Vogt (Deputy Supervisory Board Chairman EBE), Stephan Tschentscher (Managing Director EBE), Walter Wandtke (Supervisory Board Member EBE)

Tank infrastructure for CNG is in place
The infrastructure for natural gas would already be in place: With seven natural gas filling stations in Essen there is sufficient coverage of refueling options. Refueling once with natural gas takes as long as with diesel. Whether an EBE-owned petrol station would one day be worthwhile also depends on the further design of the vehicle fleet. Other modes of operation such as electric drive or fuel cells must still be considered and tested here.

Vehicle
data Drive with “CNG”, ie Compressed Natural Gas / Natural gas
Size of the gas tank: 118.3 kg or 640 l
Weight: 26 tons
Range: around 160 kilometers. That is enough for an average collecting area.

Short flying visit: the electric Quantron Elion
A fully electric refuse collection vehicle from Quantron AG came to the EBE for two days to see and get to know each other. Drive, pouring, operation – here everything works from the battery storage. The key data: 350 kWh of power, a battery with 200-280 kWh, which should provide a range of around 200km. When it comes to garbage collection, the actual range in kilometers is usually less important. Rather, the vehicles have to constantly start and stop and let the dump run during the tipping process, which eats up a lot of energy. This is where the art lies: to optimally combine range and work process.

This time it was only enough to get to know the “Quantron-Elion” model. Unfortunately, at just two days, the test period was too short; more intensive tests will be necessary here.

Live: Electric sweeper in the test
An electric sweeper was also tested in the street cleaning department for a good week until a few days ago. Its advantage – it is practically inaudible – is at the same time the challenge: driving it requires particularly careful attention because passers-by cannot hear the machine very well. Its battery pack was sufficient for a day’s use, and it had to be charged overnight. Their use is now evaluated in cooperation with the driver and compared to the conventional diesel machines.

New teats swallow a lot of small
rubbish, cigarette butts and similar mini rubbish is swallowed particularly well by the “Glutton teat” because it devours them. The city vacuum cleaner works like a very large vacuum cleaner. With its suction hose, cleaning under benches, in pavement joints, between cars, in narrow gutters is very easy. In short: in those places where the broom and sweeper do not get well. EBE has been using two of these vacuum cleaners for a long time, now five more are being added. The first arrived yesterday (!) And are now going next to the city center in Essen districts.

Source EBE Essen

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