The heavy duty sector continues to find new & innovative ways to strive towards zero emissions solutions & alternatives to diesel technologies.
Despite the fact that diesel still provides the best solution for heavy duty performance & longevity; the need to find a zero emissions solution is evident.
With trucks carrying up to 42 tons in mainland Europe & 70 tons or more in Scandinavia, the need for on-highway/heavy duty trucks to perform & deliver essential cargo efficiently & to schedule, still requires a powerful engine to move this amount of weight.
The European Union’s climate protection initiative & Green Deal is striving for the EU to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050, including decarbonising the automotive sector.
The Climate Law includes:
- a legal objective for the Union to reach climate neutrality by 2050
- an ambitious 2030 climate target of at least 55% reduction of net emissions of greenhouse gases as compared to 1990, with clarity on the contribution of emission reductions and removals
- recognition of the need to enhance the EU’s carbon sink through a more ambitious LULUCF regulation, for which the Commission made a proposal in July 2021
- a process for setting a 2040 climate target, taking into account an indicative greenhouse gas budget for 2030-2050 to be published by the Commission
- a commitment to negative emissions after 2050
- the establishment of European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, that will provide independent scientific advice
- stronger provisions on adaptation to climate change
- strong coherence across Union policies with the climate neutrality objective
- a commitment to engage with sectors to prepare sector-specific roadmaps charting the path to climate neutrality in different areas of the economy
With a continued emphasis being laid upon decarbonizing the automotive sector & the wider reaching heavy duty sector being included; Hydrogen has continually been hailed as a suitable alternative to diesel in a heavy duty/on & off-highway scenario, with the upgrades needed for a diesel engine to be adapted to hydrogen easier to adopt than re-inventing an engine & or turning entirely to electric.
However, Scania, having trialled hydrogen technologies in 2020 & dismissing hydrogen as having ‘a limited role in the future’, citing hydrogen truck maintenance as a key stumbling point in a full hydrogen adoption; now seems to be back on the hydrogen trail once again with a new collaboration with Cummins Inc.
Cummins Inc. & Scania are currently collaborating in the development & deployment of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Through their collaboration, Cummins Inc. is providing an initial 20 proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell systems to be integrated into Scania’s existing battery-electric vehicle (BEV) platform. (2)
The project strengthens hydrogen’s viability as an alternative power fuel due to its energy density & flexible use. Not only does hydrogen allow for longer driving ranges, heavier payloads & shorter refuelling times compared to battery recharging; but, when hydrogen fuel is generated using renewable energy sources like solar, wind & hydropower, it is also carbon-free. (2)
Once Scania have incorporated the Cummins fuel cells into the BEV trucks, 20 fuel cell-electric vehicles (FCEV) will be delivered in 2024 to the HyTrucks Consortium, a hydrogen initiative which is one of the largest European projects to deploy heavy-duty, zero-emissions fleets into Europe’s high-traffic areas. (2)
Earlier this year at the Future Propulsion Conference held in Solihull, UK, Duncan Engham of Cummins Inc. further highlighted how Cummins Inc. were embracing hydrogen as an alternative to diesel for heavy duty.
Engham focussed his seminar on the need for a reducing emissions in the heavy duty sector, citing that a fully zero emissions status for 40+ tonne truck, or agriculture machinery or marine, would continue to face challenges to reach fully zero emissions immediately. Engham highlighted the need for manufacturers & policy makers to not lose sight of the need for energy efficiency & longevity in the heavy duty/on & off-highway sector when considering the sweeping zero emissions targets set globally.
“We need to get our fingers out of our ears over NOx, when we CAN get zero NOx out of tailpipes” Engham said, further extolling the energy efficiency of a clean ICE & it’s continued relevance in the heavy duty/off-highway sector. (3)
Nick Owen – Technical Director, Dolphin N2 also addressed attendees at FPC2022 on the subject of hydrogen’s place in the heavy duty/on & off-highway sector with the question: “The Recuperated Split Cycle Engine: A Practical Hydrogen Solution for Heavy Duty?”
Dolphin N2 having had a multi-cylinder prototype of their recuperated split cycle engine running since December 2020 have already seen promising data with high thermal efficiency –55-60% BTE, low emissions – NOx at SULEV or below with standard SCR & fuel compatibility with Diesel, Methane & Hydrogen.
Nick Owen reiterated the benefits of the hydrogen uptake in heavy duty/on & off-highway at FPC2022.
“The benefits of a Hydrogen ICE are that a Hydrogen ICE works, is fast to adopt, uses the same supply chain as current manufacturers, has familiar servicing needs, NOx is entirely manageable via lean burn & in principle it suits a Recuperated Split Cycle. ‘Fast oxidation’ combustion is fuel agnostic – violent mixing with red-hot sonic & supercritical air will burn many things & if Hydrogen can maintain BOTH high efficiency & low NOx, the advantages are clear.” (3)
With Cummins Inc. & Scania new project underway & having already collaborated on a hydrogen project in 2020 whereby four electric Scania trucks powered by Cummins fuel cell systems have been in operation in Norway as part of a first-of-its-kind pilot project with ASKO; the argument for the viability of hydrogen in the heavy duty/on & off-highway sector is already being proven & adopted by two of the world’s largest heavy duty manufacturers.
Written & cited by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2.