Hydrogen as Option for Heavy-Duty Transport


March 5, 2018

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Hydrogen as Option for Heavy-Duty Transport


Truck with logos adjusted, © Shutterstock, WaterstofNet

WaterstofNet, a non-profit organisation operating in Flanders and the Netherlands which develops sustainable hydrogen projects, has embarked on its H2-Share project. H2-Share stands for Hydrogen Solutions for Heavy-duty transport Aimed at Reduction of Emissions in North-West Europe. The project will run until March 2020 and its objective is to facilitate the development of a market for low-carbon heavy-duty vehicles, run on hydrogen, for logistic applications. It will develop practical experience in different regions in North-West Europe (NWE), creating a transnational living lab. This will form a basis for the development of a zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle industry in this area. It will build and test a 27 ton rigid truck (developed by VDL) fuelled by hydrogen with a mobile H2 refueler (developed by Wystrach).

H2-Share will develop a joint roadmap for zero-emission heavy-duty trucks in NWE, based upon demo’s and strong cooperation with sector-related associations. It aims to realise knowledge sharing between regions and stimulate technology and market development. The project will demonstrate the readiness of hydrogen technology for heavy-duty applications in real life conditions. In doing so it will produce a 27 ton heavy-duty rigid truck working on TRL 7 (Technology Readiness Level – operational environment) instead of level 5 (technical development). It aims to achieve a reduction in CO2 output of 75 ton during two years of testing. Furthermore, the long term aims of H2-Share involve the development of production capacity for 500 to 1,500 heavy-duty trucks (or a market share of 0,7 %) by 2025 and some 5,000 by 2030.


Research from the logistic sector shows a strong growing interest in zero-emission vehicles as a means of mitigating negative environmental impact. This is particularly the case in the EU where it contributes 25 % of total transport sector CO2 emissions. While electric trucks can operate efficiently in urban areas, hydrogen technology has a key role to play in zero-emission logistics over longer distances and with heavier payloads. Heavy-duty vehicles with a fuel cell range extender – while not yet commercially available in het EU – have huge potential.



As a committed end-user, Colruyt Group will testcase the truck in its day-to-day logistical operations in Belgium and France. Because of the diversity of the group, it will be able to test a variety of cases. The group has been a pioneer in hydrogen for many years, as Tijs Hanssens, communications manager Technics, Real Estate & Energy, explains: “Our aim is to gain knowledge and experience in order to prove that hydrogen technology can be used efficiently in heavy-duty logistics. We strongly believe in the important role of green hydrogen as a sustainable option: renewable and without CO2 emissions. We are very enthusiastic about this European test project that wants to embed hydrogen technology to make the heavy-duty logistic sector more sustainable.“

Another enthusiastic end-user is DHL which will test the truck in Germany and the Netherlands, especially in long-haul transport (from gateway to service centre) and last mile transport (from service centre to customer). Marijn Slabbekoorn, GoGreen Program manager at DHL, tells: “Our cooperation with this project fits well with the GoGreen Program of DHL. We have the ambition to be 100 % emission free in our whole network by 2050. Also, by 2025 we want to attain a 50 % CO2 reduction compared to 2017. And 70 % of our last mile routes have to be emission free by 2025.” The company already uses a lot of electrical transport, bikes and street scooters to attain this goal. “But we believe in hydrogen and see a lot of opportunities. Therefore, this project closes the gap,” concludes Slabbekoorn.

Author: Wouter van der Laak, Project Manager, WaterstofNet,

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