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Validation of Fuel Cell Trucks for the Collect of Urban Wastes


The topic calls for deployment and validation of at least 10 Fuel Cell urban garbage trucks. The trucks will be operated in different European cities willing to improve their urban logistics via the utilization of innovative solutions. They should be deployed covering at least 3 sites with a minimum of 2 trucks per site. The garbage trucks should have Gross Vehicle Weight comprised between 16 and 26 tons. Said trucks should integrate a FC of at least 40 kW and be able to perform daily back-to-base missions within the urban area where they will be employed.

In the frame of the foreseen project, the garbage trucks should be manufactured, deployed and their behavioral performances should be validated by real end-users in a real operating environment.

The FC trucks object of the present call should be derived from a hybrid or electric platform to limit the risks linked to the electrification of the whole power train and the integration of the fuel cell system and can be equipped with a battery essentially aiming to manage energy braking recovery and power demand peaks.

Nevertheless, it is required that the fuel cell and hydrogen system provides at least half of the energy needed for performing its daily duty.

The trucks should be designed to meet end-users’ needs and the behavioral features of the conventional garbage trucks usually circulating in the cities hosting the project.

The cities shall ensure a high involvement in promoting these technologies, and in particular, facilitating the deployment and the exploitation of the new urban trucks.

The fuel cell trucks are expected to comply with the following requirements:

  • > 20,000 h vehicle operation lifetime initially, minimum 25,000 h lifetime as project target
  • The key power source of vehicles must be a fuel cell system or an hybrid solution with a battery and a fuel cell
  • Fuel cell system MTBF > 2,500 km
  • Availability > 90% (to be measured in available operation time)
  • Tank-to-wheel efficiency > 42%, for trucks measured in real cycles.
  • Series production ability has to be shown

It will be important to demonstrate that the fuel cell garbage trucks will be able to fulfill the typical requirements of this application, assuring one day of operation without refill.

The funding per truck should be the lesser of 1800€/kW installed FC plus 650 €/kg stored H2 or 300,000 €.

The minimum operational period for any truck demonstrated in the project is 24 months or 8000 hours of operation.

Beyond demonstration of the technology the participating cities shall ensure the communication of their efforts to other cities/regions in Europe and beyond and use appropriate channels/fora to share their experience within the project.

It would be preferable if the project is co-funded by national, regional or private sources in order to prove a strong commitment towards clean propulsion and emission free public transport. In this case, co-funding should be fully secured before the signature of the grant agreement to ensure timely realization of the project.

Proposers should provide a clear evidence of:

  • political support for the project together with commitment to further involvement in the roll-out must be provided as part of the proposal, through a Letter of Intent
  • a comprehensive exploitation-plan for the project should also form part of the proposal.

The consortium should include trucks fleet providers/operators, trucks OEMs and FC systems integrators, industrial players, local and regional bodies, as appropriate and relevant to the effective delivery of the program.

The following TRL is at least required: 6 for the FC truck at start of project.

Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD (dedicated mailbox

The maximum FCH 2 JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 5 million per project. This is an eligibility criterion – proposals requesting FCH 2 JU contributions above this amount will not be evaluated.

A maximum of 1 project may be funded under this topic

Expected duration: 4-5 years

European urban areas are increasingly facing deterioration of their air quality. Among other contributors, urban trucks equipped with current ICE technologies performing number of services are emitting local pollutants (CO, NO, PM, HC) which cause bad air quality.

Thus, from a healthcare perspective, local pollution in urban areas and city centers are becoming a growing concern for an increasing number people and public authorities.

With the hope to quickly improve air quality, several big European cities have already decided to limit the access to urban areas of diesel-fueled heavy duty-vehicles. Many others are considering applying the same approach.

Therefore, local authorities expect that industry makes available advanced and more sustainable solutions for urban logistics, including innovative zero emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The first urban logistics truck prototypes powered exclusively by batteries have largely insufficient driving range. Payload penalty and charging time are also major issues, penalizing profitability for loaders and making very unlikely the commercial success of this kind of vehicles.

On the other hand, Fuel Cell technologies may dramatically improve the driving range of these vehicles providing the operational attributes necessary to replace diesel trucks.

An urban fuel cell truck should be able to accomplish the same daily mission as its diesel version (e.g. refueling time), while proposing an acceptable payload in comparison with an “all-electric” version.

Among the different possible urban truck applications, one of the most promising for the implementation and commercialization of Fuel Cell technologies, is that of garbage trucks, i.e. heavy duty trucks specially designed and used to collect municipal solid waste and haul the collected waste to a solid waste treatment facility

It is expected that the project provides a significant step towards successful market introduction of FC trucks by reducing their cost significantly while increasing their maturity, reliability and lifetime. It is also expected that by using FC systems (preferably already demonstrated successfully in FC passenger cars) in this road transport application, the uptake of FC technology and cost reduction of FC and FC system components is significantly increased.

Existing and/or new hydrogen refueling stations will be heavily utilized due to the large H2 consumption expected for this type of heavy-duty trucks and therefore generate a bigger learning effect in comparison to under-utilized stations for other applications. This is a precondition on the pathway towards commercial operation of refueling infrastructure. It shall increase the confidence of end-users and fleet operators in reliable fuel supply and demonstrate the viability of fuel cells for trucks.

The project should identify and disseminate:

  • Lessons learnt from implementing and operating urban heavy-duty trucks for early adopters
  • Quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate the impact of the technology on public health and urban living (e.g. comparison against incumbent technology, in situ measurement etc.)

Professional dissemination of information on the activities of the project to the broad public is seen as a key part of the demonstration project. It should especially be foreseen to communicate the benefits of hydrogen and fuel cells in public transport. Regional authorities should support the project with communication.