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Volvo to launch trucks with combustion engines that run on hydrogen

Image of the Volvo hydrogen truck

The Volvo hydrogen truck

6th June 2024

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Volvo Trucks says it is developing trucks with combustion engines that run on hydrogen.

On-road tests will begin in 2026, and the global commercial launch is planned towards the end of this decade.

Trucks that run on green hydrogen will add impetus to Volvo achieving its net-zero goal, while also supporting customers to reach their decarbonisation targets, says the truck maker.

Volvo says hydrogen trucks will be especially suitable over longer distances and in regions where there is limited charging infrastructure, or time for recharging batteries.

The hydrogen-powered combustion engine trucks will also complement Volvo’s other eco-friendly offerings, such as battery-electric trucks, fuel cell electric trucks and trucks that run on renewable fuels such as biogas and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO).

“Trucks where the traditional internal combustion engine remains, but runs on hydrogen will have the same performance and reliability as our diesel trucks, but with the added benefit of potentially low CO2 emissions wheel-to-wheel,” says Volvo Trucks product management and quality head Jan Hjelmgren.

Volvo trucks with combustion engines powered by green hydrogen have the potential to deliver net zero CO2 when using renewable HVO as ignition fuel and are categorised as zero-emission vehicles under new European Union CO2 emission standards.

“It’s clear that several kinds of technology are needed to decarbonise heavy transport,” says Hjelmgren.

“As a global truck manufacturer, we need to support our customers by offering a variety of decarbonisation solutions, and customers can choose their alternative based on transport assignment, available infrastructure and green energy prices.”

Volvo trucks with hydrogen-powered combustion engines will feature high-pressure direct injection (HPDI), a technology where a small amount of ignition fuel is injected with high pressure to enable compression ignition before hydrogen is added.

The advantages of this technology include higher energy efficiency with lower fuel consumption, and increased engine power, says Volvo.

Volvo Group has signed an agreement with Westport Fuel Systems to establish a joint venture (JV) utilising HPDI technology.

The JV is anticipated to become operational in the second quarter of this year, following formal closing.

In South Africa there are a number of green hydrogen projects that are in various stages of maturity.

“Some notable examples are the Hydrogen Valley feasibility study conducted by the Department of Science and Innovation, with partner companies, as well as the Boegoebaai Hydrogen Cluster,” says Volvo Trucks South Africa sustainable solutions senior manager Eric Parry.

“Projects like these will enable the introduction and testing of hydrogen-fuelled commercial vehicles in South Africa.”

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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