Daimler Truck announced with some pride it had a prototype of its Mercedes-Benz fuel cell truck GenH2 accomplish a journey of 1 047 km on hydrogen with only one filling session. The truck maker says this is another milestone within its dual-track strategy with hydrogen and battery-powered vehicles.
The truck completed the run fully loaded with a gross combined vehicle weight of 40 tons under real-life conditions, starting Monday at Mercedes-Benz Truck’s Customer Center in Woerth am Rhein and finishing on Tuesday morning in Berlin. The record was validated under sealed tanks and with controlled mileage by TÜV Rheinland.
“To decarbonize transport, we need both battery-electric and hydrogen-powered drive technologies,” Daimler Truck’s Head of Truck Technology, Andreas Gorbach, said after the record run.
Anything but hot air
“The sweet spot for fuel cell trucks lies in flexible and demanding long-haul transportation tasks. By cracking the 1 000-kilometer mark with one fill, we have now impressively demonstrated that hydrogen in trucks is anything but hot air, and we are making excellent progress on the road to series production.”
“At the same time, our record run today is a reminder that decarbonizing transportation requires two other factors besides the right drive technologies: a green energy infrastructure and competitive costs compared to conventional vehicles.”
Two tanks of 40 kg at -253°C
The cryogenic liquid hydrogen at minus 253 degrees Celsius – in two tanks of 40 kg at each side of the truck – supplied by Air Liquide is of renewable origin, Daimler Truck claims, as it has been produced from biomethane with guarantees of origin. Good insulation of the tanks assures the hydrogen can be kept at a temperature sufficiently long without active cooling.
Since April 2021, Daimler Truck’s heavy-duty hydrogen truck, the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 presented as a prototype in September 2020, has been doing ‘rigorous’ test laps on the circuit, prepping for road tests later.
The fuel-cell truck must meet the exact durability requirements of a conventional Mercedes-Benz Actros. This means 1,2 million kilometers on the road over ten years and 25 000 hours of operation.
Preferring liquid hydrogen
Daimler Truck believes in liquid hydrogen rather than its gaseous form, which requires compression (usually 350 bar for trucks) but needs far larger storage tanks. The manufacturer says smaller, lighter hydrogen tanks give the truck more cargo space and a higher payload.
“At the same time, more hydrogen can be carried, significantly increasing the trucks’ range. This makes the series GenH2 Truck, like conventional diesel trucks, suitable for multi-day, difficult-to-plan long-haul transport and where the daily energy throughput is high.”