BTS 2023, News

Deakin begins hydrogen truck research with PACCAR Australia

Deakin University’s hydrogen program Hycel and PACCAR Australia aim to develop zero-emissions solutions for the domestic heavy haulage market.

This will be done using the first hydrogen prime mover in Australia, which is currently on display at the Brisbane Truck Show, running May 18-21.

The truck is one of 10 prototype Kenworth T680 Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) in existence and was included in world-first operational trials in the Port of Los Angeles in 2022.

It forms the centre of Hycel’s hydrogen mobility program, with an initial focus on the performance characteristics of a heavy vehicle hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.

According to Deakin’s Hycel deputy research director, associate professor Michael Pereira, this is a unique opportunity to work with one the world’s most advanced hydrogen trucks.

“Deakin specialises in industry-led research collaborations. Partnering with PACCAR Australia means our team has direct, hands-on access to the T680 to familiarise ourselves with its operability. This hardware is critical to complementing our laboratory work,” Pereira said.

Hycel will first analyse data from the US pilot program to understand how key elements of a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain perform and respond to operational demands.

“From here, we are developing state-of-the-art computer simulation models to predict the hydrogen fuel cell system and powertrain demands for Australia’s unique freight haulage conditions.

“Specifically, we’re addressing the Australian transport sector’s demands to deliver more payload per truck over longer distances, when compared to other places in the world.”

Research has begun on Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus and in the future will continue at the $24 million Hycel Technology Hub, a bespoke hydrogen research, demonstration and training facility currently under construction on Deakin’s Warrnambool campus (due for completion in November 2023).

Deakin’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Research Professor Julie Owens said that Deakin was combining research expertise in science, technology and education to meet the needs of Australia’s emerging hydrogen industry.

“Decarbonising Australia’s heavy vehicle transport is a vital step toward reducing emissions and achieving reduction targets. As research and innovation partner to businesses like PACCAR Australia, we are thrilled to advance uptake of hydrogen in our nation’s clean energy future,” Owens said.

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