UK’s South Derbyshire Council Initiates Hydrogen Waste Collection Truck Pilot

By April 27, 2023 3   min read  (550 words)

April 27, 2023 |

Fuel Cells Works, UK's South Derbyshire Council Initiates Hydrogen Waste Collection Truck Pilot

Innovative carbon-reduction trial to start

The Council are participating in a carbon-reduction trial aimed at exploring ways to reduce the emissions from its bin lorries.

Bramble Hub and Whitespace are partners in our carbon-reduction trial which aims to discover ways to reduce the CO2 emissions from rubbish collection lorries via the use of hydrogen to partially replace diesel fuel.

The technology being  piloted allows trucks to burn a mix of hydrogen with diesel. Hydrogen, of course, produces only water when burned; this means that – in theory at least – burning a fuel mix that is 30% hydrogen and 70% diesel should result in something like a 30% reduction in carbon emissions.

Because much of the hydrogen technology is still in its development phase there are so many operational variables to be considered. The Council is going to test two refuse collection vehicles upgraded with the new hydrogen technology and compare performance with two traditional diesel lorries. To run the trial requires the collection of real-time data from the refuse collection vehicles being monitored, and this is where Whitespace comes in: their software will be installed in the four test trucks, allowing the Council to compare the overall performance of the hydrogen duel-fuel technology vs diesel.

The project, which is being joint funded by the Council and D2N2 Low Carbon Growth Fund, is being led by the Council’s Climate and Environment Officers.

A Council spokesperson said: “Many Councils may be able to start upgrading their smaller vehicles with zero or low carbon, , but the cost for zero or low carbon heavier vehicles, such as those used in the refuse collection rounds are prohibitively costly.

“It is expected that the cost of new low carbon emitting trucks and heavier vehicles  will come down over time, but for now, we  want to  understand  how commercially viable a hydrogen duel-fuel solution would be and operationally how hydrogen can be stored and used effectively at the Council’s Depot.”

Whitespace’s software allows every aspect of the experiment to be monitored, says the Climate and Environment Officer: “It’s not just about comparing the power and emissions output. We will be  monitoring operational  behaviour, refuelling time, as well as the cost-benefit analysis of upgrading the test vehicles. The software ensures that operators  do their daily checks – vehicle safety,  damage, weather conditions, collection start and end times, and daily issues, to help the  analysis.

The project involves a number of partners: “Whitespace (via Bramble Hub) are delivering the IT, ULEMCo are providing the hydrogen dual fuel conversion kits, and Octopus Hydrogen are supplying the hydrogen, a mobile pressurized container and the refuelling system.”

The project is being part-funded by D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire as part of their Low Carbon Growth Fund. The trial, if successful, could bring significant environmental benefits far beyond South Derbyshire.

Will Morlidge, Chief Executive of D2N2 LEP said: “Hydrogen dual fuel conversion could be a significant next step in reducing the tail pipe emissions of heavier vehicles. D2N2 is co-funding this project so we can share the learning and data with local stakeholders and other interested parties as a potential low carbon solution for organisations running heavy vehicle fleets.”

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