First hydrogen truck in Austria debuts to nonexistent fueling infrastructure

First hydrogen truck in Austria debuts to nonexistent fueling infrastructure

The prototype garbage truck premiered in Krems an der Donau and it cost four times as much as a normal one

Austria's first garbage truck that runs on hydrogen was presented on Wednesday. This prototype will be used by Brantner, a waste disposal company based in the city of Krems an der Donau. The pilot route will pass through the popular local tourist destination - Göttweig Abbey, a Benedictine monastery founded as far back as 1072.

The vehicle drives emission-free and almost noise-free, however, it faces the insurmountable obstacle of there being no hydrogen fueling stations in the area. The company has recognised this paradox and is taking steps towards securing the necessary infrastructure. 

They claim that the first vehicle should be fully operational in two years, with their aim to convert their whole fleet to hydrogen in the next ten. Until then, they will adapt the prototype to operate in the current conditions. 

Companies are driving towards change faster than the infrastructure

The green and sustainable industries in the European Union are growing at a rapid pace, fuelled by numerous government efforts and more and more companies are investing in sustainable projects. This is very true for the hydrogen-fuelled waste disposal industry, as other companies across the EU are making the transition. 

The Krems an der Donau waste disposal company Brantner is still a great example of a climate responsible business, as their company policy states that the conservation of nature and resources is a day-to-day priority.

This is why they have invested in the hydrogen-powered garbage truck, with the hopes that a fleet of similar models will replace their existing vehicles. The truck itself should save around 80 tonnes of CO2 annually and has numerous advantages, such as reduced noise pollution.

Hydrogen-fuelled vehicles provide several advantages as they do not produce any carbon emissions and result in very little noise pollution. According to Stummer Kommunalfahrzeunge, the company that manufactured the prototype, the garbage truck should be up to 20 decibels quieter.

In terms of range, every indicator shows the truck will be able to keep up with its fossil-fuelled counterparts and refuelling will take the same amount of time – around five minutes.

The hydrogen-powered vehicle has soaked up an investment of several million euros up to this point, around four times as much as a conventional garbage truck. This is, unfortunately, due to the fact there are very few companies capable of producing them in Europe at the moment.

The company Brantner started looking into alternatives for their fossil-fuelled fleet and they paid specific attention to hydrogen. However, there are only five hydrogen fuelling stations in the whole of Austria and none of them are near Krems an der Donau. This is why they decided to provide the necessary infrastructure themselves, but have not yet provided specific details on the matter. What the company has said though is that it will set up a fuelling station and the hydrogen will be produced by a photovoltaic system.

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