Adelan maps the hydrogen-fuelled HGV supply chains, and finds the majority close to home.
Published July 2022
Hydrogen-fuelled HGVs could become a key part of the UK’s logistics chain as H2GVMids and Adelan bring together all of the elements of a 44-tonne fuel cell truck and the chance of a super success story for the Midlands.
Clean, hydrogen-fuelled heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) built around fuel cell technology could soon become a reality with a huge new industry centred on the UK’s industrial heartlands. With fuel cell technology well-proven and markets rapidly scaling, new analysis from fuel cell innovators Adelan concludes that there is a strong potential for the clean HGV sector to add massive economic value to the UK’s Midlands.
Adelan is one of the key players in H2GVMids, a demonstration programme for hydrogen-fuelled 44-tonne trucks. In the first phase of the project, the fuel cell technology leader undertook a supply chain analysis of the region’s industrial manufacturing capabilities. The analysis looked at all the components and infrastructure necessary for a 44-tonne fuel cell truck, including hydrogen refuelling stations. Covering seven core systems with seventy-six components, the analysis confirms that the economy of the Midlands region is already dominated by automotive activity which currently supports over 293,000 jobs.
Some 16 of the world’s 20 largest automotive suppliers already have an operating base in the Midlands and are steadily moving into the clean transportation space with top-tier automotive suppliers like ZF Group, Mahle and GKN operating electric vehicle platforms and OEMs like Jaguar Land Rover now looking to localise battery production.
A net-zero approach to HGV transport will lock in regional jobs and economic growth, securing an estimated 8,000 more jobs in the region by 2030 and around £1 billion of growth. A move into the hydrogen economy is expected to add a further £3.3 billion of economic growth and another 14,000 new hydrogen production and fuel cell manufacturing jobs by 2035.
With around 120,000 large HGVs currently registered in the UK they represent a significant source of pollution as well as close to 4% of all domestic transport carbon emissions. The Department for Transport has suggested that fossil-fuelled HGVs are phased out no later than 2040 and with the end of diesel trucks in sight, the UK will inevitably see a big change with more focus on EVs and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Under these circumstances, Adelan predicts that there will be around 14,000 hydrogen-fuelled HGVs operating on UK roads within this decade. Given the strong demand in the UK and EU, there is excellent market potential for clean HGV manufacturing in the Midlands and wider UK.
“With the region sitting at the heart of the UK’s freight and logistics sector, its strong engineering heritage, embedded industrial capacity and know-how, the Midlands is ideally placed to build upon its existing automotive infrastructure. Establishing a connected industry able to lead the UK in the successful transition to hydrogen-powered HGVs and other clean vehicles is key to maximising the economic and environmental benefits that are achievable from our sustainable transport future,” said Dr Michaela Kendall, CEO and co-founder of Adelan.
Working alongside partner organisations including Arcola Energy, EdF, Toyota, Intelligent Energy and ITM Motive, Horiba-Mira, MDST, ITM, University of Birmingham, and the University of Nottingham, Adelan is also developing the business case and delivery system for hydrogen HGVs. The partnership will now prepare the ground for a green-HGV industry based in the Midlands.
“EDF along with its partners have successfully completed the H2GVMids project which has detailed the pre-deployment considerations for a hydrogen fuel cell truck trial in the Midlands. Adelan’s hydrogen industry expertise was leveraged for the project in mapping out the supply chain for hydrogen fuel cell trucks across the Midlands and identifying the regional growth opportunities,” says Rebecca Rosling, Head of R&D Smart Customers at EDF.
Establishing a trial lease system of fuel cell heavy goods vehicles for operators and a cost assessment for the delivery of a 100+ truck scale demonstrator with logistics and delivery routes running across the Midlands are significant elements of this strategy to bring hydrogen-powered heavy goods vehicles to the UK’s roads.
“If we are to meet our net-zero goal – and we must – emissions from hard-to-reach sectors like heavy goods vehicles must be addressed. The flexibility, efficiency and capabilities of fuel cell technology make them an ideal solution to replace the internal combustion engine,” says Dr Kendall.
“The Midlands is at the heart of automotive manufacturing. Businesses in the region have an opportunity to work together to engineer the decarbonisation of HGVs and other road vehicles using hydrogen and low-carbon fuels. During the H2GVMids project, Adelan and the Midlands Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Network partners identified that the region can, not only innovate these vehicles, but critically 85% of the truck can already be sourced from this unique UK ecosystem. Net Zero products are one of the largest opportunities for growth for UK manufacturing,” said Stephen Phipson, Make UK CEO.
With funding from the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Road Freight programme and administered by Innovate UK, H2GVMids is part of a wider government-backed programme of hydrogen transport demonstration projects.
Dr Kendall concludes: “Tackling the emissions coming from the tailpipes of the heaviest vehicles on the UK’s roads is an extraordinary challenge. While it is clear that fuel cells and hydrogen are up to the task, we have a real opportunity to achieve the levelling up agenda by ensuring that those solutions are manufactured from the heart of the UK.”
To discover exactly how Adelan can support your clean transport needs or deploy their clean, quiet and reliable energy system for remote, mobile or any other applications, please contact Dr Kendall and the rest of the Adelan team at:
15 Weekin Works, 112-116 Park Hill Road, Birmingham B17 9HD (UK)
Tel: +44 (0)121 427 8033