Trudy Harrison, Minister of State for Transport and Ben Houchen, Mayor of Tees Valley, were the first senior politicians in the country to see the live refuelling of Electra Commercial Vehicles’ 19-tonne hydrogen fuel cell temperature-controlled HGV at Teesside on Wednesday, 31 August. The event underlined how hydrogen vehicles are out there and working with a fully functioning hydrogen supply infrastructure.
The Minister and Mayor’s purpose of the visit was to discover how the Teesside Multi-Modal Transport Hydrogen Hub Phase 1 is progressing and speak to the participants. This UK Government-funded project focuses on helping the UK solve challenges around zero-emission road freight. Electra Commercial Vehicles built the first 19-tonne temperature-controlled hydrogen fuel cell truck in operation in the UK – the eCargo FCEV – as part of this project. The vehicle is currently on trial with Sainsbury’s in the Teesside area. Trudy Harrison and Ben Houchen witnessed how the vehicle was rapidly and easily refuelled with a 100% green supply of hydrogen within a mere 10 minutes.
Advantages of hydrogen fuel cell transport
The Electra eCargo FCEV, fuelled by Element 2, was instrumental in illustrating the advantages of zero emissions hydrogen fuel cell freight operations to the Minister and Mayor. It also helped to demonstrate how Electra overcame limitations related to packaging and regulations. Hydrogen storage, the fuel cell, and associated cooling components demand a lot of chassis space along with the battery packs – Electra’s design optimises the space available while retaining ease of servicing.
Electra built this truck with four type three cylinders, providing a capacity of 20 kg of hydrogen @350 bar. Fitted with a Proton Motors HY45 fuel cell, it has an operating timescale of 9-10 hours, after which it can come back to base needing only a quick refill of hydrogen so that it can be double-shifted. All the hydrogen components meet EC79 regulations, leading to a Vehicle Special Order being granted to allow operation on UK roads.
Positive attitude toward hydrogen
Steve Storrar, Projects Manager at Electra Commercial Vehicles, who represented Electra during the refuelling, explained: ‘Our truck was the star of the show. The Minister was very engaged and asked all the right questions. She went away with a very positive attitude towards further developing Government policy to enable the rolling out of a whole hydrogen transport infrastructure in the UK.
‘It was an extremely well-received event, which saw Electra recognised on a senior Government level. We are proud to have delivered the Minister with the confidence that zero-emission hydrogen freight is already out there and working,’ commented Steve.
Hydrogen is already here
By working with Element 2, the UK’s leading hydrogen refuelling business, Electra can deliver clean, green hydrogen with on-site refuelling trailers, so operators can run their fuel cell vehicles from anywhere in the UK without investing in extensive and expensive infrastructure.
James Harris, Chief Operating Officer at Element 2, attended the event alongside Minister Trudy Harrison and Mayor Ben Houchen. He said: ‘As the Minster responsible for the decarbonisation of transport, it was vital for Trudy to see how hydrogen is already here. The conversation around policy focused on enabling regional and national supply chains and providing confidence for vehicle operators to invest in the future.
‘Most people in the transport industry, whether fleet operators or vehicle OEMs, accept that our future will rely on both electricity and hydrogen. We all must work together to achieve the UK’s zero carbon targets,’ he commented.
Hydrogen fuel cell solutions for any application
Electra is now designing the eCargo FCEV for various applications such as tractor units, RCVs, sweepers, spreaders and many more. The truck will be displayed at RWM|Let’s Recycle on Electra’s stand LR20.