Heavy-duty fuel cell road demonstrator
Development of a 40 tons long-haul zero emission semi-trailer truck for the decarbonisation of the mobility sector
Zero-emission technologies offer the opportunity to significantly reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions and create a sustainable, interoperable mobility system. For heavy-duty transportation, fuel cell (FC) trucks are the vehicle of choice, especially for medium- and long-haul transportation. Currently, 2/3 of heavy goods traffic is handled by conventionally powered tractor units of the 40t segment (with an upward trend), which are responsible for about 68% of CO2 emissions. Satisfactory solutions, especially for a European FC tractor-trailer, are not yet available on the market, but the international race is on.
Previous FC truck solutions from the Asian and American regions have only been able to implement comparatively low drive powers from the fuel cell in the truck.
The FC4HD project aims to develop and demonstrate a zero-emission 40(42)-t fuel cell heavy-duty semi-trailer tractor. This will allow direct, simple and smooth integration into the predominant tractor + semi-trailer logistics system in Europe and beyond, and thus a correspondingly efficient smooth market penetration and reduction of CO2 and other pollutants.
To achieve this goal, FC4HD will address and solve a wide range of research and development tasks within its 36-month duration (2021-2023), such as:
- Upscaling and optimization of the modular FC system from 155 kW to approx. 310 kW
- Development of an optimum cooling system for the components, making it possible for the first time to install an FC output of approx. 310 kW in a standard European semitrailer tractor.
- Implementation of a tank system consisting of two new hydrogen type IV tanks in the truck to achieve a tank capacity of 30 kg H2.
- Electric drive with 2 e-motors for 400 kW constant and 540 kW maximum power. Optimized gear selection and torque distribution for maximum efficiency and durability.
- An intelligent, predictive and holistic energy management system that equals today’s transportation performance in a typical long-distance driving cycle. Integration of innovative concepts for battery, power electronics, fuelling system and a highly compact electric drive axle as well as a comprehensive electrical/electronic concept.
The truck will be demonstrated on public roads on the route Graz – Wiener Neudorf – Linz in 2023. In total, the truck will be tested for six months, including real-life operation in a logistics environment.
To achieve all this and develop a vehicle optimally suited for the future market, the FC4HD consortium includes major Austrian partners from the automotive sector (including a start-up) from universities as well as from the fields of logistics and green hydrogen production and refueling. The consortium is complemented by a unique European partner in the field of hydrogen mobility and an internationally renowned truck manufacturer is contributing both a tractor unit and its extensive expertise to support this project.
With its globally unique full FC heavy-duty truck, FC4HD is pursuing a comprehensive systemic approach that makes Austrian zero-emission technologies internationally visible and, above all, opens up long-term growth prospects in the field of FC-powered (heavy-duty) vehicles.