As the shortcomings of pure electric power for long-haul trucks become evident, experts are turning more and more towards hydrogen as a method of powering zero emission electric motors in the future.
The problem at present is the lack of a nationwide refilling infrastructure. But this could soon change.
For example, a publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling station is to be built in the north-east of England.
The Government has awarded £7 million to the project, which will see fuel distributer Exolum build the new hydrogen filling station near Middlesbrough at the intersection of the A19 and A66.
Initially serving at least 25 new, zero-emission HGVs making deliveries from supermarket groceries to new clothes, it will be capable of dispensing up to 1.5 tonnes of hydrogen per day.
Part of the £7m project, the Tees Valley Hydrogen Vehicle Ecosystem (HYVE) Consortium, which has been charged with deploying the hydrogen-powered electric trucks, receives £2.1m.
HGV leasing partner within the consortium, Novuna Vehicle Solutions, will work alongside German manufacturer Quantron AG to build, fund and manage the maintenance of more than 20 fuel-cell electric HGVs ranging from 4.2 to 27 tonnes deployed in the project.
Novuna, which manages more than 140,000 vehicles across the UK and Europe, is also in discussion to support separate trials of hydrogen vehicles for Network Rail.
Jon Lawes, managing director of Novuna Vehicle Solutions, said:
This project is crucial to removing barriers and addressing the needs of operators at every stage of the ecosystem, in turn realising the commercial viability of hydrogen at scale and transforming the heavy transport sector which has been left behind in the road to net zero fleets.
With our experience and unique capability to build, fund and manage the in-life maintenance across all vehicle types, including HGVs, we’re looking forward to collaborating with other selected participants to create a cleaner transport sector and ultimately unlock the vast potential of fuel cell hydrogen vehicles.