The Berto Group has just signed a nine-year lease for 230 hydrogen-powered trucks created by the start-up Hyliko, making a triple-profit investment.
On the one hand, the carrier supplements its Flexy Green offer’s carbon-free vehicle rental options with this energy. On the other side, switching to hydrogen with a verified zero carbon footprint expedites the decarbonization of its fleet. Thus, Berto will decarbonize its whole fleet by switching out 45% of its trucks for Hyliko automobiles.
Finally, with its subsidiaries in France, Benelux, Poland, and Slovakia, the Berto Group promotes and facilitates the Hyliko solution. In fact, it serves as a carrier of raw materials and a maintenance service center for the new factory, increasing its turnover.
The collaboration between the group’s leader, Adrien Berto, and the mobility director of Hyliko, Lionel Bertuit, is what gave rise to this strategy. The objective is to create a hydrogen mobility platform for Hyliko. This is based on the generation of pyrolysis, or the chemical breakdown of biomass using heat. Through this pyrolysis, biochar, a fertilizer, and pure hydrogen can be created. The latter is a carbon-sequestering residue. As a result, the buyer of this hydrogen receives carbon credits for the carbon collected by the biochar in addition to the fact that hydrogen can be injected into the fuel cell or engine of a hydrogen vehicle.
French woods yearly provide enough unvalued forest biomass to power 250,000 hydrogen trucks. Based on this projection, Hyliko made the decision to create and distribute hydrogen as well as 26 to 44 t of hydrogen-powered vehicles. According to Lionel Bertuit of Hyliko, “Our goal is to decarbonize transportation through revolutionary technologies combining a hydrogen production and distribution infrastructure, as well as the full-service leasing of heavy vehicles.”
Tons of hydrogen starting in 2026 at local prices
Hyliko has done this by purchasing a technological license from the Swiss engineering lab GreenGT for hydrogen engines. It will introduce four used Renault trucks that have been refitted with 40-kilogram hydrogen tanks at 350 bar of Plastic Omnium in September 2023. Lionel Bertuit says, “Starting in 2023, we will purchase vehicles that are more than five years old and modify them under the Hyliko Trucks brand. For eight years, we will lease them in “Truck as a Service.” The first of them will debut in Île-de-France. In addition, we are developing public hydrogen production and distribution facilities in France and throughout Europe.
According to Lionel Bertuit, this will ensure the eco-circularity of our hydrogen and decouple its price from that of the global markets. This Île-de-France station will produce 400 kg of hydrogen in 2024, or 10 fill-ups each day. a supply that will grow in response to demand. Farmer purchases will be made of the biochar produced. By 2030, Hyliko aims to build 100 biomass-powered stations in France and Europe within a 100 km radius, 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 sequestered annually, and carbon credit certification.
Berto’s 230 Hyliko trucks
Adrien Berto recognized an opportunity in this undertaking for his business “to act towards its energy transition.” Adrien Berto says, “Of our 5,000 vehicles, 500 trucks are powered by alternative energy sources, including a Renault Trucks E-Tech crane truck, a tarpaulin truck, and a Volta Zero being tested for urban distribution. Although the ecosystem and hydrogen technology of Hyliko is complex, using them will hasten the decarbonization of our fleet. And biochar will once again be used in agriculture, which will make it a good solution. This will enable us to introduce our Flexy Green “+” offer in the near future along with alternative energies from other partners. The latter offers an eco-friendly car, alternative energy that it is powered by, and a driver. So, for delivery by that time, we bought 230 Hyliko Trucks. Upon customer request, we will place them in one of our six France and Benelux branches,” Adrien Berto says in closing.
The establishment of Hyliko Service Centers
In order to facilitate deployment and increase feedback, Adrien Berto intended to receive his first Hyliko Trucks at one of his Ile-de-France agencies. It will be feasible to establish a functional ecosystem that can be replicated in other places thanks to the development of devoted driving teams, skilled mechanics, and workshops tailored to these cars.
Additionally, the CEO is collaborating with Hyliko to conduct a land study for public hydrogen production and distribution facilities, and to establish its agencies as the first Hyliko Service Centers. Also being discussed is the distribution of biochar after the delivery of biomass to Hyliko stations. “For every 400 kg of hydrogen produced, a biomass truck should be needed every two days, and a biochar truck should be produced every six days,” he stated.