St Helens Council receives the first custom-built hydrogen fuel cell RCV

Faun Zoeller UK has delivered the UK’s first custom-built, hydrogen-fuelled waste collection vehicle to St Helens Borough Council. 

The truck is now ready for its integration into the council’s fleet.

This pioneering investment by St Helens Borough Council forms part of its more comprehensive fleet and operational modernisation and its commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

The hydrogen fuel cell RCV will start its first collection rounds in the coming weeks. The vehicle’s appearance in St Helens on Tuesday, 20 September, saw international partners and local stakeholders come together to present its merits and demonstrate its green technology at St Helens’ Town Hall.

Successful trials

The Faun Zoeller Bluepower is a hydrogen-electric hybrid vehicle that uses an electric motor for drive and a hydrogen fuel cell to charge the battery. At the same time, the RCV produces zero carbon emissions.

The vehicle is quieter than traditional diesel vehicles and has been successfully piloted in Germany over the past two years. The council is hoping to invest in additional Bluepower RCVs in the future.

Faun Zoeller UK has developed the vehicle with Daimler AG based in Stuttgart, St Helens’ historic twin town in Germany.

Simon Hyde, CEO of Faun Zoeller UK, commented: ‘It is great to be working in partnership with St Helens Borough Council. To see a local authority willing to invest and act for the future is vital in supporting sustainability and climate change. We look forward to supporting the authority on this journey and helping it to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. We invite and recommend more local authorities to follow in St Helens’ footsteps for future proofing of their fleet.’

Green skills

The partnership with Faun Zoeller – alongside the council’s investment in electric as part of its wider fleet modernisation – will unlock development opportunities in green skills for staff with dedicated on-site support and training provided.

The vehicle could also be the subject of educational programmes in the community and with local schools and colleges, giving young people the chance to learn about hydrogen technology and the role it will likely play in powering the economy for years to come.

It boosts the case for further investment in electric and hydrogen transport infrastructure in the borough and the wider Liverpool City Region.

The presentation of the truck also saw the announcement of a naming competition for the vehicle, to be run in local primary schools.

Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: ‘We aspire to be at the forefront of a green revolution taking place in the region – investing in renewables, diversifying the green skills of our workforce, future-proofing our services, hosting cutting-edge decarbonisation projects in industry, and fostering climate action locally at grassroots. Supported by investment in electric and the most efficient diesel vehicles, we have confidence that our decarbonisation plans can be introduced in a managed way that doesn’t compromise service delivery to our residents.

‘This vehicle represents our faith in the renewables sector as both a service provider and employer and our commitment to net-zero emissions by 2040, and I am delighted to see it arrive in the borough.’

Element 2

Element 2 has been engaged by St Helens Borough Council to supply hydrogen and refuelling infrastructure for its new Faun Zoeller vehicle. The company will initially deploy one of its mobile refuellers to build a permanent station in the borough later.

Brendan Bilton, Chief Technology Officer, Element 2, added: ‘St Helens Borough Council is committed to tackling carbon emission in an effective, efficient and safe way today. We are delighted to be working with them and Faun Zoeller. Our hydrogen is sourced locally and will support the development of a green circular economy in the region.’