The very first hydrogen-powered refuse collection truck in the UK is in the city of Aberdeen. The vehicle is the latest step in the so-called “H2 Aberdeen” initiative, which aims to bring about a hydrogen economy in the city’s region. The pioneering new hydrogen-powered refuse collection truck is based on the 4200 mm wheelbase HH-Mercedes-Benz Econic Hydrogen chassis and has a 15 kg tank capacity at 350 bar and 140 kWh batteries at 700 v. The RCV, which will be fuelled via Aberdeen City Council’s own green hydrogen infrastructure, will have a range of 250 km, enabling it to travel greater distances than an electric vehicle.

Aberdeen’s innovative refuse collection truck with top components

An Allison fully automatic 3000 Series transmission has been specified for the vehicle. It is coupled with a 250 kW Hyzon electric motor. In conjunction with a 45 kW fuel cell, the system affirms the continuing suitability of Allison’s transmissions as fleets transition from diesel-fueled internal combustion engines. Allison Transmission also recently launched the new eGen Power electric axle system for trucks. The eGen Power 100D is one of the most powerful and fully integrated e-axle systems in the world for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

The truck is also part of the European Union’s Interreg HECTOR project, in which seven European regions aim to demonstrate that fuel cell waste-collection trucks can help reduce emissions from road transport. Other vehicles in the project also feature Allison transmissions, such as an RCV from AGR, a waste management company in Herten, Germany that is based on a DAF chassis.

Suitable for diesel and alternative-power vehicles

Aberdeen City Council already runs 500 vehicles equipped with Allison transmissions and has been impressed for many years now by their drivability and durability“, said Nathan Wilson, Account & Area Sales Manager, UK & ROI at Allison Transmission. “And though Allison Automatics were originally designed for diesel engines, they are equally well-suited to alternative-fuel and alternative-power vehicles. For these reasons, the Council specifically requested that its new hydrogen-powered RCV should also have an Allison transmission“.

The vehicle will go into service in March on a domestic refuse collection duty-cycle which entails constant stop-starts for 7.5 hours per day and 5 days per week. A manual or automated manual transmission (AMT) would struggle with such demands because of wear and tear on the clutch, but Allison’s fully automatic transmission replaces the mechanical clutch with a patented torque converter. This reduces maintenance requirements, as well as improving drivability and making vehicles easier to control during stop-starts and low-speed manoeuvres.


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