Today, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) announced it opened its first dedicated Fuel Cell Lab located at the Volvo Construction Equipment in Eskilstuna, Sweden. Accordingly, this launch forms part of Volvo Group’s efforts to become fossil-free by 2040.
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This pioneering investment also comes from the company’s commitment to the Science-Based Targets initiative. This measure sets ambitious corporate goals to meet the needs established in the Paris Agreement.
About the Volvo Group’s Fuel Cell Lab
Thus, the new Fuel Cell Lab will offer Volvo Group unique conditions to test and develop hydrogen fuel cell technology solutions in heavy construction machines and other applications. The Lab will also be the first facility in which the Group will be testing complete fuel cell units.
Accordingly, Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, commented in a press release; “Fuel cell technology is a crucial enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines. Thus, this investment provides us with another vital tool in our work to reach Science-Based Targets.
Moreover, “the lab will serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing,” said Hagelberg. Finally, “it’s a really exciting step to accelerate the development of fuel cell solutions towards our united vision for a carbon-neutral society.”
In fact, Volvo CE sees hydrogen fuel cell technology as playing a pivotal role within its overall electromobility ambitions. While battery-electric solutions are ideal for urban construction, their size is too impractical for larger machines and heavy construction equipment. Therefore, hydrogen can come in as a promising alternative.
For instance, “hydrogen can be produced in many different ways; and it’s important to have a life-cycle approach across the entire value chain,” says Hagelberg. In fact, “not only will the research and development carried out at the test lab be dedicated to producing fossil-free construction solutions. We will also look at how the hydrogen itself has been produced; and strive for so-called “green” hydrogen produced from renewable energy.”
How do fuel cells work?
Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen with oxygen, with the resulting chemical reaction producing electricity. Remarkably, this process is entirely emission-free, with the only by-product being water vapor.
Although a fuel cell works much like a battery, it generates its own electricity from the hydrogen onboard rather than from an external source through charging. This means it can deliver longer driving ranges. Moreover, it is more feasible for long-haul transportation and heavier equipment.
Additionally, hydrogen fuel cell solutions can be free from the traditional machinery noise pollution since they don’t use a combustion engine. For instance, hydrogen-powered machines would be comparable to the low noise levels of the compact electric devices.
The Fuel Cell Test Lab joins the company’s dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology. For instance, the company recently launched cell-centric, a joint venture by Volvo Group and Daimler Truck to accelerate the development, production, and commercialization of fuel cell solutions within long-haul trucking and beyond.