Hydrogen and fuel cells instead of diesel in the trucks. Several large truck manufacturers, including AB Volvo, believe that this is the way to more sustainable transport.
AB Volvo aims for rapid electrification in the future. Within 20 years, the company expects that almost all vehicles will be powered by electricity, either from batteries or from hydrogen-powered fuel cells.
Lars Stenqvist, technical manager at AB Volvo, believes that for the long-distance transports, the fuel cells will be what counts. They expect large volumes of fuel cells in trucks, construction machinery, buses and at Volvo Penta with marine and industrial uses.
Volvo is far from alone in investing in hydrogen and fuel cells. In September, Daimler unveiled a hydrogen-powered truck that can go over 100 miles on a refueling.
Large-scale to cope with high development costs and get cheaper production are two reasons why companies join forces to develop fuel cell technology. Production is forecast to be even greater as several countries in Europe want hydrogen for industry, to heat homes and to store electricity from wind and solar power plants.
Svante Axelsson from Fossil-free Sweden believes that five years ago it was not realistic with hydrogen. Now the concept looks quite attractive. Svante Axelsson believes that it is due to two things. Electricity from wind and sun is cheap. That electricity needs to be stored, for example in batteries or in the form of newly produced hydrogen gas. The technology used to make hydrogen has improved and become cheaper. The large scale means that the price is pushed down even more.
Several other vehicle manufacturers have increased the speed. Toyota, the world’s second-largest car manufacturer, has, for example, showing off a pair of fuel cell-powered trucks where a model will start operating in Japan in 2022.
South Korean Hyundai recently launched a venture with seven fuel cell trucks in Switzerland. The goal is to have 1,600 hydrogen-powered trucks delivered in Europe by 2025.
Scania, headquartered in Södertälje, is also conducting two tests of fuel cells. In Gothenburg, Renova will test a garbage truck that runs on hydrogen, and in Trondheim, Asko will test four fuel cell-powered trucks.
Anders Lampinen, responsible for electric vehicles at Scania, believes that the entire energy system is being reviewed and that it can dramatically change the playing field.