Hydrogen-powered bin lorries are to be trialled in a part of Derbyshire in a bid to cut carbon emissions. More than £700,000 is to be spent on the trial, to be rolled out in South Derbyshire and based at Toyota’s Burnaston headquarters.
This will see a hydrogen refuelling point set up at Toyota’s HQ and two new bin lorries bought and converted to be able to use either hydrogen or diesel. The technology to be able to use the dual fuels is being provided by ULEMco, a Liverpool-based hydrogen combustion engine technology expert.
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Overall, the trial project will cost £705,800, with £360,000 funded by South Derbyshire District Council, £310,000 from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, £25,000 from ULEMco and £10,800 from Toyota. The trial would see a hydrogen refuelling station built at Toyota’s Burnaston HQ, where the two bin lorries would also be stationed.
Both of the lorries would then be deployed to carry out commercial bin collections and a residential bin route in the north of the South Derbyshire district. District council papers to be discussed next week say the aim to reduce the carbon emissions generated by the authority’s bin collection fleet is particularly difficult.
It says this is due to the significant weight of the bin collection vehicles and the geographical range required for their duties. For the time being, electric bin lorries are “currently in question”, the authority says.
The alternative hydrogen powered vehicles are being explored instead, with the authority stressing that more research and more development is needed to roll out the technology – in particular the required hydrogen fuel infrastructure, which simply does not exist yet. Council papers say: “Part of the project aim is to stimulate demand for hydrogen fuel which in turn will reduce the unit cost of hydrogen to a level more comparable with diesel.
“If this and other market forces do not create some cost equivalence between the two fuel types then the fall-back position will be to revert the two RCVs back to diesel. “The carbon emissions from the transport sector are responsible for 47 per cent of the total carbon emissions of South Derbyshire and are the single highest emitting sector.
“Any decarbonisation action, such as the promotion and increase of low carbon vehicle usage supports the reduction in the overall carbon footprint of the district and the improvement of environmental sustainability across South Derbyshire. “Developing an innovative hydrogen infrastructure promotes and supports other local authorities and business that use refuse collection vehicles and other heavy goods vehicles that will potentially require this type of low carbon technology in the future.”
The council has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and its vehicle fleet currently generates an estimated 722 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.