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Volvo tests hydrogen-powered hauler

The testing phase has begun in Volvo Construction Equipment’s attempt to create the world’s first hydrogen-powered articulated hauler

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has begun testing of the Volvo HX04 – what it says is the world’s first hydrogen powered articulated hauler prototype.

The testing phase of the HX04 follows the completion of a research project undertaken by Volvo CE and various other stakeholders aimed at breaking new ground in hydrogen fuel cell technology.

The HX04 is Volvo CE’s latest development in its commitment toward a net-zero future, with the results of the testing to provide insightful data into the possibilities of hydrogen and fuel cell in the earthmoving sector.

The HX04 could be the world’s first hydrogen-powered articulated hauler

While Volvo CE already offers a large range of commercial products powered by battery-electric solutions, the potential of hydrogen fuel cell technology has not been explored for the electrification of earthmoving machines until now, it says.

“Being inventors of the world’s first articulated hauler more than 55 years ago, we are happy and proud to again drive change with this fuel cell hauler concept,” says Volvo CE head of advanced engineering programs Carolina Diez Ferrer.

“While an early prototype, this innovation will give valuable insights into the opportunities of hydrogen in the energy transformation alongside battery-electric solutions.

“We believe that by exploring multiple technologies and working in partnership we can create the best path forward to decarbonise the construction industry.”

The HX04 was developed in conjunction with a host of other stakeholders including the Swedish Energy Agency and ran between 2018 and 2022.

The manufacturing of the articulated hauler prototype was carried out at the Volvo CE facility in Braas, Sweden, where the first articulated hauler was built back in 1966.

The HX04 prototype works by a specialised fuelling process, installed at the Volvo test track by Shell. The prototype is charged with 12kg of hydrogen in 7.5 minutes which is enough to power the machine for around four hours.

The fuel cells in the hydrogen mix with oxygen which causes a chemical reaction that in turn produces electricity.

The commercialisation of hydrogen-powered machines is expected during the second half of the decade, Volvo CE says.

For more information, visit: www.volvoce.com

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