19 October 2023

Hydrogen-powered garbage truck keeping Illawarra streets greener and cleaner

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four people at ribbon-cutting ceremony for hydrogen-powered garbage truck

John Edgley from Hyzon Motors, Wollongong City Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery, Chris Wade from Remondis and Shellharbour City Mayor Chris Homer at the launch of the first hydrogen garbage truck. Photo: Supplied.

The streets of some Illawarra suburbs will be quieter and greener next time the rubbish is collected, with the country’s first hydrogen-powered garbage truck now in action.

The carbon emission-free truck made history on Tuesday (17 October) when it completed its first scheduled residential waste collection.

Remondis’ Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) relies on hydrogen, which combines with air to generate electricity for motor function. Only water vapour is emitted, and nothing harmful to the environment. It’s also significantly quieter than diesel trucks.

Remondis Australia CEO Bjorn Becker said the truck going into formal operation was historic.

“We’re demonstrating that carbon-free transport can and does work in industrial settings,” Mr Becker said.

“We’re hopeful that this is the start of a bigger journey whereby companies around the world follow Remondis’ lead and turn to fleet decarbonisation.

“This should be likely as economies of scale take effect, making the take-up of such technology the norm and not the exception.”

READ ALSO Heavy vehicles powered by hydrogen can now fill up at Port Kembla

Remondis NSW South Coast region manager Chris Wade said the truck would be fine-tuned through collaboration with its maker, Hyzon Motors, in coming months.

“The ultimate aim is to have the hydrogen truck matching our current diesel trucks in all facets,” Mr Wade said.

“That includes completing about 1000 bin lifts over about eight hours.

“Trial runs in recent months have been promising, giving us confidence to put the truck into formal operation, serving many of the 300,000 residents in the region.

“Putting the truck through full commercial paces will give us additional information and enable adjustments to be made if necessary.

“With distinctive markings indicating that it is hydrogen powered, the truck will be deployed across all areas of the Illawarra to give every resident a zero-emission service and a chance to experience this moment of history.”

The recent launch of the Coregas H2 station in Port Kembla, Australia’s first hydrogen refuelling station for heavy vehicles, has been pivotal in enabling the truck to begin operations.

It’s expected the hydrogen truck would be refuelled daily, with each refuelling stop taking about 15 minutes.

Trials have shown the truck can travel about 200 km and complete full waste-collection runs without refuelling, the same as conventional diesel trucks.

READ ALSO Inside the clean, green energy industries springing up around the steelworks and harbour

The truck will result in the annual saving of 25,000 litres of diesel fuel – the amount used by a conventional diesel-powered waste-collection truck of this size. Up to 75 tonnes of carbon emissions would also be eliminated each year.

The truck has been developed by Hyzon in partnership with Superior Pak, one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of world-class mobile waste-collection and compaction equipment, to ensure both body and engine meet the resource recovery industry’s unique operational needs.

Hyzon Motors president of international operations John Edgley said global industries were watching the Illawarra developments closely.

“Today’s announcement is a real game changer for the world’s decarbonisation journey,” Mr Edgley said.

“We’re making it very clear that we’ve got a product now, the first product that’s been designed locally, that’s ready to go into market.

“This step forward will give more confidence that as a trucking sector, we can start transitioning larger fleets in companies that have thousands of vehicles.”

The Wollongong and Shellharbour city councils, which contract to Remondis, applauded the move.

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