As part of its commitment to the Science-Based Targets initiative and the long-term ambition of becoming 100% fossil-free by 2040, Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) has invested in a Fuel Cell Test Lab that will enable the testing and development of hydrogen fuel cell technology solutions for heavy construction machines and other applications.
Located at Volvo Construction Equipment’s Technical Center in Eskilstuna, Sweden, the new lab represents the company’s commitment to hydrogen and is the first facility in the group to test complete fuel cell units.
“Fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides us with another vital tool in our work to reach Science-Based Targets,” commented Toni Hagelberg, head of sustainable power at Volvo CE.
“The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing. It’s a really exciting step to accelerate the development of fuel cell solutions toward our united vision for a carbon neutral society.”
Volvo CE states that hydrogen fuel cell technology will play a key role in the realization of company electromobility ambitions, alongside battery electric solutions and more sustainable internal combustion engines, with all three working together to achieve a carbon-neutral society. Volve sees hydrogen power as an alternative to battery electric solutions for large machinery and heavy construction equipment applications, where the size of the battery required is impractical.
“Hydrogen can be produced in many different ways and it’s important to have a lifecycle approach across the entire value chain,” Hagelberg. “Not only will the research and development carried out at the test lab be dedicated to producing fossil-free construction solutions, we will also look at how the hydrogen itself has been produced, and strive for so called ‘green’ hydrogen produced from renewable energy.”
As hydrogen fuel cells generate power from an onboard hydrogen source rather than relying on an external charging source like battery solutions do, vehicles fitted with the technology will be able to travel longer distances, making it an ideal form of propulsion for long-haul transportation and heavy construction equipment. Hydrogen fuel cell solutions also offer added benefits such as reduced noise pollution compared with traditional combustion-engined heavy equipment.
Volvo’s Fuel Cell Test Lab will run alongside the Volvo Group and Daimler Truck development program cellcentric, which will focus on bringing fuel cell solutions to the long-haul trucking sector.