Daimler Truck, a pioneer in the transportation industry, has achieved a remarkable feat that signals a bright future for green, hydrogen-powered long-haul road transportation. The company’s Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck, equipped with cutting-edge hydrogen fuel-cell technology, recently completed a historic ‘HydrogenRecordRun,’ covering a distance of 1,047 kilometers (approximately 650 miles) on a single fill of liquid hydrogen.
The journey began on September 25th at Mercedes-Benz Truck’s Customer Center in Woerth am Rhein and concluded the following morning in Berlin, Germany. What makes this accomplishment truly remarkable is that the truck was fully loaded, carrying a gross combined vehicle weight of 40 tons. Under real-world conditions, the GenH2 Truck completed the run without emitting any carbon dioxide (CO2). The authenticity of this achievement was independently confirmed through an inspection document from TUV Rheinland, a renowned certification organization.
Andreas Gorbach, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG and Head of Truck Technology, emphasized the importance of this milestone: “To decarbonize transport, we need both battery-electric and hydrogen-powered drive technologies. The sweet spot for fuel cell trucks lies in flexible and demanding long-haul transportation tasks. By cracking the 1,000-kilometer mark with one fill, we have now impressively demonstrated: Hydrogen in trucks is anything but hot air, and we are making very good progress on the road to series production. At the same time, our record run today is a reminder that decarbonizing transportation requires two other factors in addition to the right drive technologies: a green energy infrastructure and competitive costs compared to conventional vehicles.”
Prior to embarking on this groundbreaking journey, the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck was fueled with liquid hydrogen at Daimler Truck’s filling station, located at the company’s development and testing center in Woerth. The hydrogen used in this record attempt is of renewable origin, as it has been produced from biomethane with guarantees of origin. The refueling process involved filling cryogenic liquid hydrogen at a bone-chilling temperature of minus 253 degrees Celsius into two 40-kilogram tanks mounted on either side of the truck chassis. The efficiency of the vehicle’s tanks, with their exceptional insulation, ensures that the hydrogen remains at the required temperature without active cooling. These tanks were securely sealed before the #HydrogenRecordRun, with verification from TÜV Rheinland.
Daimler Truck’s preference for liquid hydrogen in their hydrogen-based drives is pivotal to the vehicle’s impressive performance. In this liquid state, hydrogen boasts significantly higher energy density relative to its volume compared to gaseous hydrogen. This characteristic enables the transportation of more hydrogen, dramatically increasing the vehicle’s range and ensuring comparable performance to that of a conventional diesel truck.
The journey towards this milestone began three years ago, on September 16, 2020, when Daimler Truck announced its commitment to invest extensively in hydrogen technology. CEO Martin Daum unveiled the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck Concept, signaling the company’s dedication to technological innovation. Subsequently, Daimler Truck established cellcentric, a joint venture with the Volvo Group, aimed at operating one of Europe’s largest production facilities for fuel cells.
Since 2021, Daimler Truck has rigorously tested the first prototypes of the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck, even conquering challenging transit routes like the Brenner Pass. This recent #HydrogenRecordRun represents yet another milestone on the path to sustainable transportation. While the first fuel-cell trucks are expected to undergo testing in the hands of customers in the coming years, the ultimate goal remains the introduction of the series version of the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck in the second half of this decade.
The success of Daimler Truck’s record-setting journey not only signifies a remarkable achievement in the transportation sector but also underscores the potential of hydrogen as a clean and efficient energy source for the future of long-haul trucking. This milestone serves as a beacon of hope for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation industry.