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UPS to deploy prototype Class 6 extended range fuel cell electric vehicle delivery truck; trials begin in Q3

2 May 2017

UPS will deploy a prototype extended range Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) in its Rolling Laboratory fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. UPS is working with the US Department of Energy (DOE) and other partners to design a first-of-its-kind, zero tailpipe emissions, Class 6 medium-duty delivery truck that meets the same route and range requirements of UPS’ existing conventional fuel vehicles.

The UPS trucks are equipped with a 32 kW Hydrogenics fuel cell coupled to 45 kWh of battery storage and 10 kg of hydrogen fuel. Each FCEV produces electricity which continuously charges its batteries, thereby providing additional power and an extended range of 125 miles. This will support the full duty cycle of the truck, including highway driving.

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The first FCEV prototype will be deployed in Sacramento, Calif., where UPS will validate its design and core performance requirements by testing it on the street starting the third quarter of 2017. Current project plans call for additional UPS trucks to be validated with at least 5,000 hours of in-service operational performance.

All of the trucks will be deployed in California due to that state’s ongoing investment in zero tailpipe emissions transportation and installment of hydrogen fueling stations around the state.

The challenge we face with fuel cell technology is to ensure the design can meet the unique operational demands of our delivery vehicles on a commercial scale. This project is an essential step to test the zero tailpipe emissions technology and vehicle on the road for UPS and the transportation industry. We have a long history of developing and promoting the use of more sustainable alternative fuels with our Rolling Laboratory, and hope that by bringing our unique expertise to the development of hydrogen fuels, we can help advance the technology.

—Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president global engineering and sustainability

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The project is part of a fuel cell project grant awarded by DOE in 2013 focused on verifying the proof of concept in commercial delivery vehicles. The project calls for retrofitting conventional fuel trucks with fuel cell electric systems designed specifically for use in a delivery truck duty cycle. UPS is partnering with the Center for Transportation and the Environment as well as Unique Electric Solutions LLC and the University of Texas’ Center for Electromechanics.

UPS has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations globally since 2009. UPS has deployed more than 8,300 vehicles using its Rolling Laboratory approach to determine what works best in each situation.

May 2, 2017 in Fleets, Fuel Cells, Heavy-duty, Hydrogen | Permalink | Comments (6)

Comments

Great idea, get renewable power contracts then GO for it!

I'm not sure why they have specified such a big battery pack and relatively small fc stack, which iin a car would only cover cruising, although the stop start nature of the job means that it will cover well for a delivery vehicle.

The problem of course is power draw from such a small stack.

Toyota have only specified a 12 KWH battery for a thumping great Class 8 Drayage vehicle, but fuel cells and batteries can of course be combined in loads of different ways.

Presumably the cost of the Hydrogenics stack is high relative to the batteries which UPS can buy.

Toyota can simply stick in a couple of Mirai stacks.

This parallels La Poste in France, who are further along, already having deployed considerable numbers of BEVs with a Symbio/Michelin range extender, so of course they are using a big battery pack too.

Perhaps that is optimal for a delivery vehicle.

I will add here some other news on the progress of hydrogen and fuel cells in buses.

'Transport for London (TfL) has recently launched a tender for the bulk procurement of fuel cell buses. Working in partnership with other UK cities (Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dundee), TfL is inviting potential suppliers of fuel cell buses to join a framework for the supply of single and double decker vehicles to cities across the UK and potentially further afield. Further context and details of this opportunity are available from the contract notice published via the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU).1

Fuel cell buses can offer an attractive zero emission solution for public transport in cities. They do this without imposing any significant new operational constraints on bus operators, as they can meet all daily bus duty cycles and can refuel in a short refuelling window. As such, once their costs reduce through economies of scale, they will be a valuable tool in the fight against local pollution and the removal of carbon dioxide emissions from road transport. Furthermore, fuel cell buses have the potential to kick start the use of hydrogen for mobility, with other applications in passenger cars, vans, trucks and even trains expected to follow. The bulk procurement of buses will significantly increase yearly order volumes in Europe and will play a key role in reducing costs and bringing this technology closer to a commercial reality.'
https://fuelcellsworks.com/news/uks-zero-emission-bus-deployment-plans-gain-momentum/

Over the six years of the project they hope to reduce costs enough so that there is no penalty at all against diesel'

Fuel cell buses would actively clean city air, can be operated on exactly the same duty cycle as regular buses with fast refuelling, and do not suffer the severe penalties that battery ones do in the cold.

They would also promote and enable the spread of hydrogen infrastructure and lower cost hydrogen, which is expensive in transport mainly due to the low volume, with one bus depot in the US having already got costs down through volume to $4.50 kg:

'As for the approximately $1.9 million hydrogen pumping station at SARTA’s Gateway headquarters in southeast Canton headquarters, it’s operational, said Conrad. A 9,000-gallon tank holds liquid hydrogen at extremely cold temperatures. A vaporizer converts the liquid hydrogen into gas where it’s stored in underground tanks and then it’s pumped into the hydrogen buses with fuel dispensers. The pumping station can support up to 20 vehicles. A bus can hold 50 kilograms of gas. The hydrogen is shipped from Air Products’ hydrogen plant in Ontario.

A kilogram of hydrogen gas, which now costs about $4.50, is roughly equal to a gallon, said Conrad. A hydrogen gas bus gets about eight to nine miles out of about a kilogram of hydrogen gas while a regular diesel bus gets about four miles to the gallon.'

http://omniproservices.com/omniweb/sarta-hydrogen-station/

In respect to hydrogen infrastructure:

'The North of England’s gas distributer, Northern Gas Networks (NGN), with support of Leeds City Council, has officially launched its H21 Project Office in Leeds which will help establish the city and wider region as the UK’s hydrogen centre of excellence.

The office will deliver innovation projects with a strategic focus of providing compelling evidence to support UK gas grid conversion from natural gas (methane) to zero-carbon Hydrogen. If such a conversion were to take place it would be the single biggest contributor to supporting the UK Government’s ambitious 2050 climate change targets.

The office opening comes in the week following the Government’s announcement that it will be committing £25M of funding for an innovative programme considering using hydrogen gas for heating in homes across the UK.

Mark Horsely, CEO of Northern Gas Networks, said: “We are delighted with the Government’s announcement of a £25m programme which will provide significant amounts of the critical evidence required to allow a policy decision to convert the gas network to 100% Hydrogen. By opening our dedicated project office, we are taking a further step towards our hydrogen future and sending a signal to the Government and the rest of the industry that we are ready to work with them to deliver it.

The dedicated office will bring together international leading talent from across the energy sector, academia, government and business to further examine and, build the foundations to deliver, the gas network conversion strategy set out by NGN in its ground breaking H21 Leeds City Gate project (get the report or watch the film by visiting NGN website).

The H21 Citygate project looked into the feasibility of substituting natural gas with hydrogen in the gas distribution network. The project has shown that the gas network has the correct capacity for conversion, it can be converted incrementally with minimal disruption to customers and it would have a minimal impact on customer’s bills'

https://fuelcellsworks.com/news/northern-gas-networks-hydrogen-project-takes-step-forward-as-25-million-fund-announced-for-hydrogen/

Electric vehicles (of all sizes) with FC range extenders are being developed at a much faster rate in the last 12+ months.

Much lower cost H2 is now available in many places.

Better FCEVs and lower cost H2 will start to replace dirty diesel units, specially where pollution is a major problem.

Fleets have fuel yards, hydrogen, CNG, DME are not a problem,
they can make the fuels at the yard to save money.
Oberon has an NG to DME station that goes right in the fuel yard
for trucks, they can use bio renewable methane.

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