HWR launches first hydrogen dual-fuel truck

In News4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 6, 2023

The first of an initial 10 dual-fuel hydrogen trucks has arrived in HWR’s South Island fleet wearing the iconic blue livery of Dynes Transport. The 10 trucks are expected to all enter trial service before the end of the year, representing a range of OEMs and operations with the various transport entities of the HWR group.

The first truck, a DAF XF 530 8×4 named Blue Hydro, features a hydrogen-gas injection system to displace diesel and thus reduce diesel consumption and emissions. HWR Hydrogen – the business unit driving the project – expects an average of 40% reduction in diesel consumption and emissions.

Five 420 bar-rated hydrogen tanks are mounted vertically behind the cab, holding a total of 25kg of hydrogen gas at 350 bar. The hydrogen is injected into the engine’s air intake stream via a ring-and-rail injection system, displacing diesel and offering the same energy mix as 100% diesel. A consumption ratio of one kilogram hydrogen per 3.5l of diesel is expected, meaning 25kg of hydrogen equates to an additional 80l of diesel in the tank, or 20% extra range.

The injection system is the only mechanical modification to the truck – the drivetrain and Euro-6 emissions system remains otherwise untouched. Likewise, the only modification to the truck’s electronics is the connection of the hydrogen injection ECU to the DAF’s CANbus.

The whole system adds just 965kg to the truck’s tare mass, and Blue Hydro is HPMV-rated at 58 tonnes. It will enter service with Dynes as a milk tanker, before swapping out for a curtainsider and later logging gear.

To develop the technology and install it on its trucks, HWR Hydrogen has partnered with UK hydrogen firm CMB.Tech, Christchurch-based hydrogen specialists Fabrum, and South Island heavy truck specialists Transport Repairs Limited.

The tanks are made (in the UK) out of a carbon fibre specifically for hydrogen storage and tested to EC79 – the European standard for hydrogen. They are a couple of inches thick, and subject to the likes of ballistic and fire testing.

The frame to which they’re mounted is made of 10mm galvanised steel and FEA (Finite Element Analysis) force modelled to withstand up to 6G.

“We wanted it to be overengineered and account for different scenarios,” says Kim Hill, commercial manager, HWR Hydrogen.

“It’s a transitionary step,” says HWR CEO Anthony Jones. “There’s no operational penalty with this approach. We can avoid changing the type of truck drivers are driving, not change the driver experience, and benefit from immediate results.

“We’ve looked at EV but we couldn’t get past the 20-30% payload degradation. The majority of our fleet is heavy mass/long distance, or rural-based – battery just doesn’t work for the majority of the HWR fleet. We know EV has a place, but it’s not in our business. Everything we’ve seen points to hydrogen and we’re going to test that. We’re learning as we shape the future,” he comments.

As part of the project, HWR Hydrogen will also bring online the first hydrogen gas production and refuelling site in Gore in the coming months.

Look out for a full report in the May issue of New Zealand Trucking magazine.