Daimler Truck conducts first liquid hydrogen refueling with next-gen truck prototype

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Daimler Truck says it has reached the next milestone in the development of its hydrogen-fueled trucks. For the past year, a Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck fuel-cell prototype has been undergoing intensive testing – both at the company’s in-house test track and on public roads. Daimler is now putting another prototype into operation to test the use of liquid hydrogen.

A newly installed prototype filling station at the development and testing center in Wörth enables the refueling with liquid hydrogen. Recently, Daimler completed the first successful liquid hydrogen (LH2 ) refueling of the truck together with partner Air Liquide. During the refueling process, cryogenic liquid hydrogen at -253°C was filled into two 40kg tanks mounted on either side of the chassis. Thanks to a high level of insulation of the vehicle tanks, the hydrogen can be kept at temperature for a sufficiently long time without active cooling.

Daimler Truck notes that it prefers liquid hydrogen in the development of hydrogen-based drives. In this aggregate state the energy carrier has a significantly higher energy density in relation to volume compared to gaseous hydrogen. As a result, more hydrogen can be carried, which significantly increases the range and enables comparable performance of the vehicle with that of a conventional diesel truck. The development objective of the series-ready GenH2 Truck is a range in excess of 1,000km and more. The start of series production for hydrogen-based trucks is planned for the second half of the decade.

Daimler Truck is also working with Linde on the development of a new process for handling liquid hydrogen (“subcooled” liquid hydrogen, or “sLH2 technology”). Among other things, this approach enables even higher storage density and easier refueling compared to LH2. The companies plan for the first refueling of a prototype vehicle at a pilot station in Germany in 2023.

When it comes to infrastructure for hydrogen filling stations along important transportation routes in Europe, Daimler Truck is planning to work together with the companies Shell, BP and TotalEnergies. It is also a shareholder in hydrogen filling station operator H2 Mobility Deutschland. In addition, Daimler Truck, IVECO, Linde, OMV, Shell, TotalEnergies and the Volvo Group have committed to work together to help create the conditions for the mass-market rollout of hydrogen trucks in Europe as part of the H2Accelerate (H2A) interest group.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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