Fuel Cell: a sustainable clean solution for long haul commercial vehicles

Fuel Cell: a sustainable clean solution for long haul commercial vehicles

The automotive industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation due to increasing concerns about air quality and global warming. Reducing emissions and the carbon footprint of our society have become imperatives. They require the automotive industry to adapt and develop new technologies responding to the need both to strive for a cleaner sustainable transport system and for a sustainable economic prosperity.

This paper will look at various types of powertrain for heavy duty 44 tonnes gross vehicle weight(GVW) trucks and their sustainability from an operational and environmental point of view. The 2030 targets require a sustainable long-term strategy which is based on hybrid electric powertrains, use of renewable liquid fuels and electric vehicles. Two solutions which are topical in the current technical debate will be analysed for total cost of ownership (TCO): a full battery electric truck and a fuel cell truck.

The paper will provide an overview on current best practice in fuel cell technology looking at Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC), highlighting the pro and cons of those technologies for automotive applications.

A holistic approach is necessary during the engineering phase of a new fuel cell heavy duty truck. This allows specific challenges to be addressed; offering comparable performance with respect to an existing diesel truck particularly for power, range and reliability. The paper will discuss these challenges and offer a way successfully to overcome them.

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