Daimler Truck tests fuel cell truck with liquid hydrogen

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

A newly installed prototype refueling station at Daimler Truck’s development and test center in Wörth (Germany) enables refueling with liquid hydrogen. At the commissioning, Daimler Truck celebrated the first successful liquid H2 (LH2) refueling of the truck together with Air Liquide. During the refueling process, cryogenic liquid hydrogen at -253°C is filled into two 40kg tanks, each mounted on the side of the chassis. Due to the particularly good insulation of the vehicle tanks, the hydrogen can be kept at temperature for a sufficiently long time without active cooling.

In the development of hydrogen-based drive systems, Daimler Truck prefers liquid hydrogen. In this state of aggregation, the energy carrier has a significantly higher energy density in relation to volume than gaseous hydrogen. As a result, more hydrogen can be transported, which, according to the company’s interpretation, significantly increases the range and thus enables the vehicle’s performance to be comparable to that of a conventional diesel truck. The development goal of the production-ready GenH2 truck is a range of 1,000 kilometers and more. This makes the truck suitable for flexible and demanding operations, particularly in the important heavy-duty long-haul segment. The start of series production for hydrogen-based trucks is planned for the second half of the decade.

In parallel, Daimler Truck is working with gas producer Linde on the development of a new refueling process for liquid hydrogen (“subcooled” liquid hydrogen, “sLH2 technology”). Compared with LH2, this innovative approach enables an even higher storage density and simpler refueling. The companies are planning the first refueling of a prototype truck at a pilot station in Germany in 2023. Daimler Truck and its partners are focusing on openness of the relevant interfaces in the development of sLH2. By involving as many other companies and associations as possible in the development of the new liquid hydrogen standards, the aim is to establish a global mass market for the new process.

In the area of infrastructure for hydrogen filling stations along important transport axes in Europe, Daimler Truck intends to cooperate with the companies Shell, BP and TotalEnergies. Daimler Truck is also a shareholder in hydrogen filling station operator H2 Mobility Deutschland. In addition, Daimler Truck, Iveco, Linde, OMV, Shell, TotalEnergies, and the Volvo Group are working together within the framework of their joint venture H2Accelerate (H2A) to help hydrogen trucks achieve a breakthrough throughout Europe. The goal is to offer only new vehicles that are CO2-neutral in operation in the global core markets by 2039.

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