H.Essers committed to Hydrogen R&D via Hytrucks consortium
H.Essers is convinced that hydrogen is indispensable to reducing the carbon footprint of the transport sector. We are therefore committed to further developing this technology and infrastructure. Over the past two years we have been a contributing member in the HyTrucks consortium, which unites more than seventy stakeholders from five European countries involved in the hydrogen supply and demand chain. HyTrucks developed a robust European project and is expecting a decision on European subsidies shortly.
The importance of hydrogen
As a leading logistics player in Europe, H.Essers is actively seeking opportunities for sustainable transport. We are pursuing a modal shift to rail and waterways, which will avoid road transport, eliminate emissions, reduce traffic jams and help solve the driver shortage problem. Unfortunately, not all transport is possible by rail or water, so it’s important to reduce the impact of transportation by truck. Diesel trucks are slowly making way for electric vehicles (for shorter distances) and hydrogen-powered vehicles (for longer distances). Biofuels such as HVO and bio-LNG are already available and will remain relevant in the long term.
The success of hydrogen depends on the availability of hydrogen trucks and their range, load capacity, refuelling speed and the current infrastructure. ‘That’s the problem,’ says Sustainability Project Manager Yannick Dylst. ‘The high production costs of green hydrogen and hydrogen technology limit demand from customers; and no demand means no investments. The result is a bit of a chicken and egg situation.’
To break the impasse, H.Essers decided to join HyTrucks, which unites a strong consortium of leading players in the entire value chain. HyTrucks currently boasts more than seventy partners in five European countries. Transport companies and their customers make up the demand side and hydrogen producers, service station operators and truck manufacturers make up the supply side. By involving both sides and removing operational and financial hurdles, HyTrucks wants to break the chicken-or-egg cycle. The consortium wants to see 1,000 trucks and 60 hydrogen filling stations by 2025. This will facilitate the large-scale expansion of the value chain and help HyTrucks achieve its ultimate mission of decarbonising 6.1 million heavy trucks and replacing them with green hydrogen by 2050.
Removing financial and operational barriers
Today, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is lower for diesel trucks than hydrogen-powered trucks. In time, this will change. However, in order to achieve the European objectives in the Fit for 55 plan, we have to start this transition now if we want to reach the tipping point. We have to act now and this calls for major investments. HyTrucks hopes that national, regional and European governments will want to invest in the future by awarding subsidies.
One of the crucial pillars is to expand the number of hydrogen trucks and create a service network. Truck manufacturers in the consortium are therefore committed to doing just that: building trucks and developing a service network as quickly as possible. Sufficient filling stations are also needed in order to create flexible routes. Operators and truck manufacturers must ensure interoperability to allow hydrogen trucks refuel at all hydrogen stations. Finally, zero-carbon transport is only possible if the hydrogen production process is also carbon-free. Hydrogen station operators will therefore switch to green hydrogen at the start of the project.
HyTrucks wants to start the process in 2024. By then it hopes to raise enough money to achieve its ambitions. Initially, the consortium aims to have 1,000 hydrogen trucks on the road by 2025. By 2050 it hopes to see 6.1 million hydrogen trucks on European roads and a CO2 reduction of 732 million tonnes.
- In 2024, manufacturers will have 205 hydrogen trucks and 60 hydrogen stations available, resulting in an annual CO2 reduction of 24,000 tonnes.
- In 2025, this is expected to be 1,000 hydrogen trucks and an annual CO2 reduction of 120,000 tonnes.
- By 2030, 60,000 hydrogen trucks and 1,000 hydrogen stations are expected, for a total CO2 reduction of 7 million tonnes per year.
We therefore expect to see the first hydrogen trucks from the HyTrucks consortium on European roads in 2024. ‘H.Essers drivers will also be using hydrogen trucks and they will make up an increasingly large part of our fleet. This will help us take an important step towards sustainable freight transport.’
For more info, contact our colleague Yannick Dylst, firstname.lastname@example.org.