Heavy Duty & Off-Highway is still an area where the transition to zero emissions poses some considerable challenges.
Why have Brighton & Hove made the Hydrogen choice for their bus fleet?
A recent South East Today feature (12.10.2021) on hydrogen as an alternative to diesel fuel for heavy duty vehicles, interviewed Patrick Warner – Head of Innovation & Strategy, Brighton & Hove buses & he gave his insights as to why Brighton & Hove are pursuing the hydrogen route for their vehicles, rather than electrification for their 400 strong bus fleet.
“What our trials found with electric was that these vehicles weren’t capable of doing more than about half a day’s work here in Brighton, so totally unsuitable & we would require a fleet almost double the size than we currently have in Brighton today” (1)
“What we now have got is a vehicle which can do anything our diesel fleet can do, can refuel in the same time it takes to refill a tank of diesel, but with absolutely no emissions, apart from a small amount of water vapour” (1)
During the New Power Progress Summit (26.05.2021), Jo Bamford – Chairman of Wrightbus & Founder of Ryse Hydrogen spoke about his belief in hydrogen fuel. (2)
Bamford spoke about hydrogen as the fuel of the now, not the future. His company, Ryse Hydrogen, has been producing & supplying Green Hydrogen over the past four years & most notably supplies Green Hydrogen to fuel the Wrightbus Hydrogen Buses. (2)
Bamford went on to illustrate that a Bus can travel 300 miles fuelled by diesel & takes only minutes to fill up, it can travel 285 miles on hydrogen & take 7 minutes to fill up & 183 miles on a battery model & take 7 hours to charged (Bamford’s words). (2)
Why is electric still a challenge for Heavy-Duty & Off-Highway?
Charging electric trucks takes them out of action for anything up to 8 hours at a time. Despite the laws in the UK dictating that HGV driver’s can only drive for a maximum of 9 hours per day; as a HGV is designed for maximum output, endurance & heavy duty performance, HGV trucks are often running 24/7 with shift drivers.
This is particularly true in the agriculture sector whereby industrial tractors can be running 24/7 for weeks on end during the harvesting seasons, with down time only taken for refuelling.
At the recent Cenex LCV Event, UTAC, Millbrook, the one seminar which broached the subject of the low carbon alternatives for heavy duty & off-highway ‘Decarbonising Heavy Duty Vehicles’, certainly hailed electrification in both battery & electric road systems & hydrogen as strong contenders in the replacement of fossil fuel ICE’s.
During the seminar, Innovate UK cited the Department for Transport £20m Zero Emission Road Freight Program which highlights some of the ongoing targets for heavy duty sector, namely:
- On road trials for the technology that could be the future of 44t HGV’s
- Encouraging uptake of zero tailpipe emission vehicles that are available now and can decarbonise HGV’s immediately.
Department for Transport
Which companies are spearheading electrification?
Scania announced in 2016 that they were committed to more sustainable transport solutions & in 2020 they announced that they were launching a long term commitment to electrification in the heavy duty sector.
Scania’s first electric truck range has a range of up to 250 kilometres (155 miles) with Scania claiming that the vehicles are capable of a full day’s operation before returning to base for overnight charging. (3)
The trucks are offered with either a 165 kWh or 300 kWh battery pack to power its 230kW electric motor. (3)
The trucks come with a Combined Charging System (CCS) connector to charge the vehicle directly from the electric grid. With 130kW of charging, the five battery packs can be charged in less than 55 minutes. (3)
How does the Dolphin N2 ThermoPower® Recuperated Split Cycle Engine challenge the expectation of phasing out the ICE?
The Recuperated Split Cycle is an internal combustion engine, with all that implies in terms of low cost and ease of manufacture, that aims to compete with zero emission drivetrains. (4)
The Recuperated Split Cycle engine has the potential to reduce fossil fuel use by up to 30% whilst simultaneously reducing air pollutants to well below any future planned legislation. It is also demonstrated to run on both hydrogen and biomethane. (4)
It targets long haul trucks (where zero-emission technology is least easy to apply), 0.5-50MW distributed power generation (an area seeing rapid growth to reinforce electricity grids and balance out intermittent renewables), mixed-mode rail, and marine applications. (4)
It can potentially do this with the efficiency of the largest power stations, and air quality somewhere between the toughest Californian SULEV standard, and zero-impact (meaning emissions can’t be detected or are cleaner than the surrounding air). (4)
The ThermoPower® / CryoPower® system itself was first validated using a single cylinder Titan engine with recuperator (the “hot half”), to study low emissions behaviour; since the end of 2020, a multi-cylinder “mule” prototype has been running to validate the whole cycle and develop durable solutions to key systems. (4)
Written by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2.