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The new hydrogen-powered trucks will save 60 tons of CO2, Source: Mark Horn on Facebook

Freiburg’s waste management fleet is going the hydrogen way

Freiburg’s waste management fleet is going the hydrogen way

The city is expecting 64% of its waste trucks to be hydrogen-powered by the year 2023

The city of Freiburg in Germany got its first hydrogen-powered vehicles on Thursday. These are two trucks that will be employed by the the city's waste management company - Abfallwirtschaft und Stadtreinigung Freiburg GmbH (ASF).

They will be used to collect biowaste and paper and, after they replace two diesel-based trucks, are estimated to save up to 60 tons of CO2 annually. The company expects to replace 14 trucks more by the end of 2023.

Freiburg’s technological turnaround: quiet and carbon-neutral

The first two hydrogen-powered collection vehicles were financed with the support of national subsidies. This means that 75% of the acquisition costs of around 1,4 million euros, for both vehicles were covered by subsidies. The trucks will be implemented in the collection of biowaste and paper.

Despite heavy commercial vehicles being responsible for 30% of the CO2 emissions in the transport sector, a significant contributor to climate change, companies have been rather reluctant to adopt more climate-friendly alternatives.

Meanwhile, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles have gotten cheaper and more competitive, which has enabled ASF to expand its waste collection fleet by 14 eco-friendly trucks in the next two years. By 2023, 64% of ASF’s trucks will be hydrogen-powered, rather than diesel.

Like normal electric vehicles, fuel-cell vehicles are driven by an electric motor, and they are also emission-free and low-noise. In contrast to purely electric vehicles, they can generate their own electricity while driving thanks to a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen that only emits water as a by-product.

The built-in battery system also enables recovered braking energy to be stored and the battery to be partially charged - a decisive advantage in everyday stop-and-go traffic. This extends the travel time and increases flexibility.

Lord Mayor Martin Horn was quoted in a press release expressing his excitement about the transition of ASF: “Freiburg will then have one of the largest fleets with alternative-powered refuse collection vehicles and will play a pioneering role in this area. This should make a significant contribution to the achievement of the climate protection goals of the city of Freiburg”.

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