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Loop Energy fuel cell range-extenders chosen for FAST TRACK project; zero-emission Class 8 drayage trucks

Canada-based Loop Energy’s heavy-duty fuel cell range extender (earlier post) will power two new zero-emission hybrid-electric Class 8 drayage trucks that will operate for a one-year period as part of a FAST TRACK Fuel Cell Truck Project in southern California.

The Loop-powered, long-haul trucks will work in demanding road operations, towing up to 80,000 pounds of freight throughout the San Diego and Los Angeles regions. The hybrid-configured trucks will incorporate a range of technologies including Loop’s FC-REX fuel cell range extender, TransPower’s latest “T-NMC” energy storage technology that is built around batteries provided by Nissan, and battery-electric drive systems supplied by TransPower, to extend the operating range of Peterbilt trucks beyond 200 miles without the need for refueling or recharging.

The core of Loop’s fuel cell range extenders is the company’s patented technology eFlow—a design that maximizes power, efficiency and durability through an optimized air flow process. By changing the geometry of the fuel cell flow field, Loop has unlocked capabilities not previously achieved by other fuel cell designs. Consequently, Loop fuel cell products produce significantly more power output in the same package and a materially lower total cost of ownership versus diesel-engines, the company says.

To meet the commercial demands of heavy-duty freight movement, zero-emission heavy-duty trucks must provide sufficient vehicle range, quick refueling and meet the power needs demanded by fleet operators, without any impact to freight load. Loop’s robust, no-compromise range extender means truck operators do not have to choose between hauling batteries or freight, and they can transition to zero-emissions without any impact to cost of ownership.

—Ben Nyland, President and CEO of Loop Energy

Funded by California Climate Investments (a program administered by the California Air Resources Board to fund projects that accelerate the commercial viability of low carbon freight and passenger transportation vehicles and equipment) and consortium partners, FAST TRACK will be led by GTI, a leader in the development and deployment of technology solutions to address energy and environmental challenges, and the fuel cell/battery-electric drive system integrator TransPower, a leader in electrification technologies and system-integration for large commercial vehicles.

Additional partners include heavy-duty truck manufacturer Peterbilt Motors Company (a division of Paccar), fleet operator Bill Signs Trucking, mobile fueling hydrogen infrastructure supplier OneH2, and data collection and analysis provider Frontier Energy.

In addition, Frontier Energy and the Center for Sustainable Energy will provide outreach and education services to local communities.

The FAST TRACK project will provide industry partners and government with extensive performance data and analysis collected from multiple heavy-duty trucks operating in real-world conditions to help California analyze the impact of broadly deploying zero-emission Class 8 trucks in port operations, and on local air quality in the test regions.

Loop fuel cell range extenders will be integrated by TransPower into two Peterbilt 579 truck gliders in early 2019. Following on-road testing by Peterbilt at their PACCAR Technical Center in Mount Vernon, Washington, the trucks are scheduled to enter daily operational service in California in the second quarter of 2019.

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