Deakin University’s hydrogen program, Hycel, has joined forces with PACCAR Australia to conduct research aimed at developing zero-emission solutions for the domestic heavy haulage market using hydrogen-powered prime movers.
This partnership marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of sustainable transportation options in Australia.
One of the highlights of this collaboration is the unveiling of a hydrogen-powered truck at the Brisbane Truck Show, taking place from May 18 to May 21. The showcased vehicle, a prototype Kenworth T680 Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, is among only ten such trucks in existence. It serves as a crucial component of Hycel’s hydrogen mobility program, which focuses on assessing the performance capabilities of heavy vehicles equipped with hydrogen fuel cell powertrains. The truck has also undergone groundbreaking operational trials in the Port of Los Angeles in 2022.
Associate Professor Michael Pereira, the deputy research director for Hycel at Deakin University, expressed enthusiasm about partnering with PACCAR Australia, emphasizing the opportunity to work with one of the world’s most advanced hydrogen trucks. He highlighted the significance of having direct access to the T680 truck, allowing the research team to gain hands-on experience and align their work in the laboratory with real-world operations.
To enhance their understanding of how a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain performs and responds to operational demands, Hycel plans to analyze data from the US pilot program. This valuable information will be used to develop state-of-the-art computer simulation models that can accurately predict the demands placed on the hydrogen fuel cell system and powertrain under Australia’s unique freight haulage conditions.
The collaboration between Hycel and PACCAR Australia aims to address the specific requirements of the Australian transport sector, which often necessitates the delivery of larger payloads over longer distances compared to other regions worldwide. By focusing on optimizing heavy vehicle performance and efficiency, this research endeavor seeks to revolutionize the country’s transportation industry.
Initial research activities are underway at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus, with plans to transition to the upcoming $24 million Hycel Technology Hub, currently under construction on Deakin’s Warrnambool campus. This purpose-built facility will provide state-of-the-art resources and infrastructure for further research and innovation in hydrogen technologies.
Deakin University’s Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Julie Owens stressed the importance of decarbonizing Australia’s heavy vehicle transport as a crucial step toward reducing emissions and achieving national reduction targets. She expressed pride in Deakin’s role as a research and innovation partner to businesses like PACCAR Australia, highlighting their shared commitment to advancing the adoption of hydrogen as a clean energy source in Australia’s future.