In a significant stride towards decarbonising transportation with hydrogen, Daimler Truck and Linde Engineering, two industrial giants, have achieved a groundbreaking infrastructure breakthrough. Their collaborative efforts have led to the development of sLH2, a novel process for handling subcooled liquid hydrogen, offering a range of advantages over traditional gaseous hydrogen methods.
Engineers from both companies have worked collaboratively on sLH2, which boasts higher storage density, extended range, faster refuelling, reduced costs, and improved energy efficiency compared to gaseous hydrogen. The innovative approach enables heavy-duty trucks to be refuelled in just ten to fifteen minutes, carrying 80 kg of liquid hydrogen for a range exceeding 1,000 kilometres. This technology not only enhances efficiency but also significantly reduces the investment required for hydrogen refuelling stations and operational costs.
The sLH2 process, compared to conventional liquid hydrogen (LH2) refuelling, utilises an innovative pump to slightly increase the pressure of the liquid hydrogen, transforming it into subcooled liquid hydrogen. This method simplifies the fuelling process, minimises energy losses, and eliminates the need for data transmission between the refuelling station and the vehicle.
The inaugural public sLH2 pilot station in Wörth am Rhein, Germany, marks a milestone in energy efficiency and performance. With a significantly low energy consumption of 0.05 KWh/kg, the station requires 30 times less energy than conventional gaseous hydrogen refuelling. Its small footprint and high capacity make it a practical and cost-effective alternative for heavy-duty vehicles.
Daimler Truck and Linde Engineering are working towards establishing sLH2 as the leading hydrogen refuelling technology for heavy-duty trucks. The technology, available through an ISO standard, promotes transparency and openness, urging other stakeholders to adopt the standard and contribute to the global mass market for the process.
Andreas Gorbach, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck, emphasises the importance of three factors for zero-emission transport: appropriate vehicles, an extensive infrastructure network, and cost parity with diesel trucks. He calls on other industry players to adopt sLH2 technology as an industry standard.
Juergen Nowicki, CEO of Linde Engineering, highlights the practicality and environmental benefits of sLH2, presenting it as a CO2-neutral alternative to diesel in the heavy-duty vehicle sector. The reduced investment and operational costs are expected to lead to lower total ownership costs.
The sLH2 technology is set to be implemented in the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck customer-trial fleet from mid-2024 onwards, showcasing its real-world applications in CO2-free long-distance transport. As these trials unfold, Daimler Truck and Linde Engineering aim to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen-powered trucks and the pressing need for a widespread international refuelling infrastructure and a sustainable supply of green liquid hydrogen.