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New hydrogen-powered HGV could be on the road by 2024

Project ICEBreaker will create a new and commercially competitive 44-tonne proof of concept truck, for heavy goods vehicle manufacturers and operators.

With funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre, Viritech, HORIBA MIRA and Intelligent Energy will work in partnership to deliver engineering solutions for the challenge of decarbonising the 500,000 HGVs currently in operation on UK roads.

The project plans to deliver a proof of concept truck for OEM and operator testing by late 2024.

Timothy Lyons, CEO and founder of Viritech, said: “The ICEBreaker program enables Viritech to move the development of its high-performance hydrogen powertrain technology to the next stage, by working with our partners HORIBA MIRA and Intelligent Energy to integrate a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain on a 44-tonne truck, and to demonstrate the huge benefits of this technology to manufacturers and their fleet customers.”

As the lead partner, Viritech will bring its proprietary energy management hardware and software, optimised for fuel cell as prime mover, to target mass parity with HGV diesel powertrains to the project. The principle of using the fuel cell as the prime mover in the driveline is supported by Intelligent Energy’s latest generation of specialist fuel cells for heavy duty applications; engineering consultants HORIBA MIRA will bring its full vehicle engineering experience to bear by delivering the truck’s thermal systems modelling and engineering, systems integration and vehicle optimisation as well as validation and certification to the project.

A 44-tonne battery electric truck requires five tonnes of batteries, cutting the payload by up to 20% and costing £40,000 per year in lost revenue. Hydrogen fuel cells can present a far more commercially viable alternative.

With HGV viability critically linked to total cost of ownership (TCO) for operators, HORIBA MIRA will be using its experience in developing a digital twin of the ICEBreaker HGV with a driver-in-the-loop capability to pre-validate the vehicle’s TCO credentials.

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