REMONDIS Australia has achieved a global breakthrough by introducing one of the world’s first hydrogen-powered waste collection trucks to its operations.

After extensive trials, the carbon emission-free truck participated in its first scheduled residential waste collection in the Illawarra region of New South Wales on 17 October.

The Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) relies on hydrogen which combines with air to generate electricity for motor function. Only water vapour is emitted, and nothing harmful to the environment.

REMONDIS Australia Chief Executive Officer Björn Becker said the truck going into formal operation was historic.

“We’re demonstrating that carbon-free transport can and does work in industrial settings,” Becker said.

“We’re hopeful that this is the start of a bigger journey whereby companies around the world follow REMONDIS’ lead and turn to fleet decarbonisation.

“This should be likely as economies of scale take effect, making the take-up of such technology the norm and not the exception. REMONDIS has gone all-out to deliver this ground-breaking environmental initiative at the earliest possible time and it’s something we’re very proud of.”

Chris Wade, REMONDIS NSW South Coast Region Manager, said the truck would be fine-tuned through collaboration with its maker, Hyzon Motors, in coming months.

The  aim is to have the hydrogen truck matching the current diesel trucks in all facets, including completing about 1000 bin lifts over about eight hours.

“Trial runs in recent months have been promising, giving us confidence to put the truck into formal operation, serving many of the 300,000 residents in the region,” Wade said.

“Putting the truck through full commercial paces will give us additional information and enable adjustments to be made if necessary.”

The truck has distinctive markings indicating that it is hydrogen powered. It will be deployed across all areas of the Illawarra.

The recent launch of the Coregas H2 station in Port Kembla, Australia’s first hydrogen refuelling station for heavy vehicles, has been pivotal in enabling the truck to commence operations. It’s expected the hydrogen truck would be refuelled daily, with each refuelling stop taking about 15 minutes.

Trials have shown the truck can travel about 200 kilometres and thereby complete full waste collection runs without refuelling, the same as conventional diesel trucks.

The truck will result in 25,000 litres of diesel fuel being saved annually – the amount a conventional diesel-powered waste collection truck of this size uses. Up to 75 tonnes of carbon emissions would also be eliminated each year. Heavy-duty transport is known to cause about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions globally.

The truck is also quieter than diesel trucks.

The truck has been developed by Hyzon in partnership with Superior Pak, one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of mobile waste collection and compaction equipment, to ensure both body and engine meet the resource recovery industry’s unique operational needs.

Hyzon Motors President of International Operations John Edgley said global industries were watching the Illawarra developments closely.

“Today’s announcement is a ‘real game changer’ for the world’s decarbonisation journey,” Edgley said.

 “We’re making it very clear that we’ve got a product now, the first product that’s been designed locally, that’s ready to go into market.

“This step forward will give more confidence that as a trucking sector, we can start transitioning larger fleets in companies that have thousands of vehicles.”

Wollongong City Council and Shellharbour City Council, which REMONDIS contracts to, have been instrumental in supporting and enabling the breakthrough.

“This is a really exciting development and is a proactive step forward in adapting to new technologies that can help reduce our city’s emissions,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

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