PowerCell Sweden, a global construction equipment manufacturer and a government-backed research institute have joined forces to conduct a fuel cell feasibility study.
The aim of the research project is to build knowledge about construction equipment drive trains that have been electrified using fuel cells and hydrogen (H2).
PowerCell Sweden has received an order for two MS-100 fuel cell systems from a global construction equipment manufacturer.
Per Wassén, CEO of PowerCell, said, “The increasing demands for fossil free operations faces construction equipment manufacturers with the same challenges as the rest of the automotive industry. For the really heavy equipment, electrification using fuel cells will be the most attractive alternative for addressing them.”
Today’s construction machines use diesel engines for propulsion and in doing so emit carbon dioxide, NOx and particulate matters. But climate and health related issues have spurred an interest in a transition away from fossil fuels.
In several European cities stricter emission regulations are being prepared. Norway’s capital Oslo has set a target to be fossil free by 2030, something that will require a wide-ranging electrification of construction equipment.
An electrification using today’s battery technology is not commercially viable for the heaviest construction equipment.
“In certain sizes and types of heavy equipment, when it comes to running time and performance, the energy density of today’s batteries is not even close to meeting the demands,” Wassén continued.
“An electrification where you combine fuel cells and H2 will, however, result in a machine that can be fuelled at approximately the same time as a traditional construction machine, that can operate just as long and with the same performance – and has water as its only emission.”