Volvo's first hydrogen fuel cell trucks roll onto the test track

Volvo's first hydrogen fuel cell trucks roll onto the test track
Volvo has started testing hydrogen fuel cell trucks, with plans to roll them out later this decade
Volvo has started testing hydrogen fuel cell trucks, with plans to roll them out later this decade
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Volvo has started testing hydrogen fuel cell trucks, with plans to roll them out later this decade
Volvo has started testing hydrogen fuel cell trucks, with plans to roll them out later this decade

Having introduced a series of battery-electric trucks over the past few years, Volvo Trucks is now expanding on its vision of a cleaner trucking future with a foray into hydrogen fuel cell powertrains. The company announced this week that it has begun putting these next-generation big rigs through their paces, with a view to introducing them to the market later this decade.

Though these are billed as Volvo's first ever fuel cell electric trucks, the company has been working on this technology for some time. Way back in 2010 it embarked on a program to extend the range of electric vehicles with a fuel cell modification that breaks gasoline down to create hydrogen gas, in turn generating electricity and sending the cars further on each charge.

In adapting this tech for use in semi-trailers, Volvo is looking to add to its stable of zero-tailpipe-emission heavy haulers that run on batteries and biogas. It says these electric trucks will have a similar range to their diesel-powered counterparts at around 1,000 km (621 miles), and will be powered by a pair of onboard hydrogen fuel cells that generate 300 kW of electricity and emit only water vapor as exhaust. They will have a refueling time of less than 15 minutes.

“We have been developing this technology for some years now, and it feels great to see the first trucks successfully running on the test track," said Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks. "The combination of battery electric and fuel cell electric will enable our customers to completely eliminate CO2 exhaust emissions from their trucks, no matter transport assignments."

Volvo joins some notable names in hydrogen-powered trucking, such as Toyota, Hyundai and startups like Nikola. While these have been introduced in small pilot programs around the world, we'll need to see refueling infrastructure implemented on a wider scale before they really begin to put a dent in the trucking industry's sizable carbon footprint. Volvo also points to the need for greener forms of hydrogen produced by renewable energy sources as a key consideration moving forward.

“We expect the supply of green hydrogen to increase significantly during the next couple of years, since many industries will depend on it to reduce CO2," said Alm. "However, we cannot wait to decarbonize transport, we are already running late. So, my clear message to all transport companies is to start the journey today with battery electric, biogas and the other options available. The fuel cell trucks will then be an important complement for longer and heavier transports in a few years from now."

Volvo plans to begin customer pilots for its hydrogen fuel cell trucks in the next few years, and bring them to market in the second half of this decade.

The video below offers a quick overview of the project.

Volvo Trucks – Our first-ever fuel cell electric truck

Source: Volvo

For passenger cars,hydrogen is a non-starter,but for long haul trucking,it is viable,as only a few H2 refueling stations would be needed along the routes where these trucks drive. Green hydrogen could be used to produce green ammonia,which is far easier to store and transport.
Seems to me that semis are far better suited for hydrogen than any other road vehicle. Look at all that space under the trailer box, perfect for large fuel tanks, which hydrogen vehicles need because of its low energy density. Filling in that gap would also improve aerodynamic efficiency.
Our world already always have countless people keep burning to death alive (after traffic accidents), because of using gasoline (which easily starts fires) as fuel!
(Diesel fuel, for example, does NOT easily starts fires (& that is why POTUS car is specifically chosen to be a diesel, for example)!)
Hydrogen, on the other hand, does NOT start fires but EXPLODES like a bomb!!!
If there are hydrogen vehicles around, do you seriously think their tanks would never leak or rapture, because of a traffic accident, for example???

IMHO, any vehicle which battery does not provide enough power/range should/must use bio-diesel as (range extender) fuel!!!
(Bio-diesel can be produced from many kinds of crops/biomass & can be used by any regular diesel vehicles too!!!)
Trylon what are you talking about? Hydrogen has an energy density 3 times that of Diesel or Gasoline. And, as it is a gas, it can be compressed, further reducing the size needed to store it.
Long haul just might be hydrogen's niche, both on land and in the (medium range) air.
@JamesP, your understanding of hydrogen is limited. Here:

"On a mass basis, hydrogen has nearly three times the energy content of gasoline—120 MJ/kg for hydrogen versus 44 MJ/kg for gasoline. On a volume basis, however, the situation is reversed; liquid hydrogen has a density of 8 MJ/L whereas gasoline has a density of 32 MJ/L, as shown in the figure comparing energy densities of fuels based on lower heating values."