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Dual fuel truck powered by diesel and hydrogen gas

28 April 2023

New Zealand’s largest privately owned transport company has launched what is believed to be Australasia’s first dual fuel truck which is powered by hydrogen gas and diesel.

The HW Richardson Group, which has 1400 trucks in its fleet, revealed its first dual-fuel truck at the George Begg Festival at Teretonga, near Invercargill on Friday 31 March. The company believes hydrogen is a future fuel that will transform the transport industry from being one of the largest emitters to one of sustainability’s biggest champions.

HW Richardson Group chief executive Anthony Jones said the team made the decision 14 months ago to “jump boots and all” into dual fuel trucks. Another nine diesel trucks would be converted to dual fuel this year, while a hydrogen fuelling station would be installed in Gore.

Details of this new technology, lessons and progress on rolling out the dual fuel trucks will be part of this region’s Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 event planned to run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 24-25 May 2023. Details on the programme and activities planned as part of the event can be found on woodtransport.events

“What you see in front of you is 14-months of hard work come to life, we are pretty proud of it,” he said of its first such truck, a 2023 DAF XF. “We see this as a step to transition the industry away from fossil fuels to future fuels.”

When in dual fuel mode, about 40% of the truck’s energy was generated by hydrogen gas, in five tanks behind the cab, and 60% from diesel. It could also run on diesel only. The beauty of dual fuel vehicles was a driver could be dispatched from Invercargill to Christchurch “and if they run out of hydrogen they can still get home by flipping over to the diesel only mode”.

The company had made the call to “lead the industry” away from fossil fuels, and it was doing so without the trucks losing performance, he said. “Some of the trials in Europe show they [dual fuel trucks] are getting more power.”

The company had opted against electric vehicles, as it couldn’t afford to lose up to 30% efficiency as a result of the weight of the batteries, and wait four hours for batteries to recharge, Jones said. “So, hydrogen was really the only solution for us from a long distance transport option.”

The plan was to build more refuelling stations over time and eventually shift from dual fuel trucks to solely hydrogen powered trucks. “Once you get to that, all that comes out the back is water vapour.”

HWR hydrogen project manager Kerryn Hamill said it cost about NZ$200,000 to convert a diesel truck to a dual fuel truck – “significantly less than buying an alternative fuel vehicle”. The company’s total programme costs were NZ$15m to put the initial 10 dual fuel trucks on the road and install a hydrogen fuel station.

The company’s 1400 trucks emitted a lot of emissions and the dual fuel trucks were a step in reducing that. “Our team have worked so hard to get here,” Hamill said.

Source & Photo: Stuff

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