Drive by hydrogen

The first production-line hydrogen vehicles in Europe are being used in hospitals, towns, waste plants and other commercial applications.

Denmark‘s H2 Logic and A Flensborg said the first six of its H2 Trucks — a small vehicle designed for small haulage operations such as luggage transport at airports, hospitals and ports — are now being driven in five different locations.

Existing hydrogen vehicles use batteries which can need long recharge times, with the result that additional vehicles may be required during recharging. H2 Logic has developed a Fuel Cell Power Unit that has double the storage capacity, with refilling taking only a few minutes compared to the six to eight hours often necessary.

This is because the H2 Truck is not refilled in the traditional sense. Hydrogen canisters are interchanged much like a battery, but require around 30 minutes’ recharge/refill time. Working on a standard eight-hour recharge time, the firm’s FillingStation can refill over 10 times the equivalent volume of batteries in the same time. The FillingStation makes the H2 Truck concept complete and safe, claimed H2 Logic, since the pressure within the system is at a maximum of 20 bars.

‘These first applications of the truck will give us real-time drive experience, which will provide crucial data before we can optimise later versions of the H2 Truck and other niche transport applications,’ said H2 Logic director Jacob Hansen.

International surveys and reports predict that niche transport applications will be some of the first commercial markets for hydrogen and fuel cell technology, and the H2 Truck is one of the first products to hit the commercial market.