A sustainable transport project with long-distance potential: in September 2022, the German Federal Ministry forDigital and Transport (BMDV) approved the funding application for the consortium research project HyCET(Hydrogen Combustion Engine Trucks) led by the BMW Group. The other HyCET project partners are Deutz, DHL Freight, Keyou, TotalEnergies Marketing Deutschland and Volvo Group.

The research project aims to demonstrate the sustainability potential of trucks with hydrogen combustion engines for transport logistics. The other issue for HyCET, alongside technology development, is the required infrastructure, such as publicly accessible hydrogen filling stations. Thanks to its shorter filling times, high payload and versatility, combined with its attractive range, hydrogen is regarded as a promising fuel for transportlogistics. The use of green hydrogen produced from renewable energies will thus enable CO2-free long-distance logistics in the future. Due to the low emissions from hydrogen combustion, the trucks are also considered as zero-emission vehicles under EU regulations.

Deutz and other partners towards hydrogen trucks

The HyCET research project will have an investment volume of 19.5 million euros, of which 11.3 million euroswill be funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV). Over the course of the HyCET project, the BMDV also provided an additional 5.7 million euros in funding for construction of two public hydrogen filling stations mainly for heavy goods traffic.

The network has set itself ambitious targets for the four-year project. The aim is to develop two 18- tonne trucksand two 40-tonne trucks with hydrogen combustion engines that will be tested in regular BMW Group and Deutz transport logistics. Two new hydrogen filling stations including for heavy utility vehicles will be built in Leipzig and Nuremberg to facilitate daily operation of these trucks.

As one of the world’s leading engine manufacturers and a pioneer in the sustainable off-road sector, powertrain specialist Deutz has developed a 7.8-litre hydrogen engine. The initial application is already running successfully in a stationary generator. As part of the HyCET project, this engine will be installed in an 18-tonne truck to demonstrate its practicality for mobile applications.

The global multi-energy company TotalEnergies intends to operate up to 150 hydrogen filling stations directly or indirectly in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France by 2030. The two new hydrogen filling stations that will be built under the HyCET consortium in Leipzig and Nuremberg will be an integral part of this European long-distance hydrogen network.

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