An interesting option for the future
DAF’s philosophy is that we need to explore the full suite of technologies on the road of decarbonisation of road transport. Next to battery electric solutions which we already offer today and hybrid trucks which we have under development, hydrogen technology may become a very interesting option for the future.
Powering trucks with hydrogen
Hydrogen is certainly an option in the medium and long term for powering trucks. In fact, there are two different possibilities. In both cases, a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions can be realized if green hydrogen is applied.
- a fuel cell that uses hydrogen to generate electricity to power the electric motor
- or using hydrogen as a fuel for the combustion engine.
Trials with Fuel Cell Technology
If we want to achieve a real breakthrough with hydrogen technology in the future, it is essential that the first steps are taken now. And that is exactly what we are doing. Together with Toyota and Shell, DAF’s parent company PACCAR has started extensive trials with hydrogen-powered trucks with sophisticated fuel cell technology in the port of Los Angeles.
Exploring the Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine
While PACCAR is exploring fuel cell technology, DAF is developing an Internal Combustion Engine running on hydrogen. Compared to the fuel cell hydrogen solution, the combustion engine option has transient capabilities (eliminating the need of a large energy storage system). Other advantages include the lower cooling capabilities needed and lower sensitivity to hydrogen purity.
Using hydrogen as a fuel means that in many areas use can be made of an existing distribution network: from green electric power generation to the location where it is needed. In addition, one should not forget that we in Europe have extensive knowledge and a comprehensive manufacturing footprint in the combustion engine technology. The European truck industry has commonly expressed the aim to refrain from using fossil fuels for their commercial vehicles as from 2040. Despite, thanks to for instance hydrogen technology, the internal combustion engine still offers huge potential for the further future, especially in the heavy duty long haul transport segment.
‘Truck Innovation Award 2022’
With the introduction of the New Generation DAF trucks, we have a complete and very energy efficient platform for new generations of alternative energy carriers and drivelines. A great example is the new DAF XF H2 Innovation Truck with hydrogen internal combustion engine which has been honoured with the European ‘Truck Innovation Award 2022’.
The Truck Innovation Award is an initiative of the International Truck of the Year (IToY) jury and acknowledges new, promising technological developments which can play a crucial role in a sustainable future in the commercial vehicle sector.