Specialist waste company, Remondis Australia is claiming it has  become the first company in the world   to introduce a hydrogen powered waste collection trucks to its operations.

Remondis put the  vehicle into service  with its first scheduled residential waste collection in the Illawarra region of  NSW last week having already completed extensive trials of the the carbon emission-free truck.

The Hyzon Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) uses hydrogen, which combines with air to generate electricity for the truck’s motor function. The only emission from a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is water vapour is emitted, and nothing harmful to the environment.

Remondis Australia CEO Björn Becker said the start of formal operations for the fuel cell powered truck was historic.

“We’re demonstrating that carbon-free transport can and does work in industrial settings,” Becker said.

“We’re hopeful that this is the start of a bigger journey whereby companies around the world follow Remondis’ lead and turn to fleet decarbonisation,” he said

“This should be likely as economies of scale take effect, making the take-up of such technology the norm and not the exception and Remondis has gone all-out to deliver this ground-breaking environmental initiative at the earliest possible time and it’s something we’re very proud of,”  Becker added.

Remondis NSW South Coast region manager, Chris Wade said the truck would be fine-tuned through collaboration with its maker, Hyzon Motors, in coming months.

“The ultimate aim is to have the hydrogen truck matching our current diesel trucks in all facets, and that includes completing about 1,000 bin lifts over about eight hours.” Wade said.

“Trial runs in recent months have been promising, giving us confidence to put the truck into formal operation, serving many of the 300,000 residents in the region,” he added.

“Putting the truck through full commercial paces will give us additional information and enable adjustments to be made if necessary,” he said.

“With distinctive markings indicating that it is hydrogen powered, the truck will be deployed across all areas of the Illawarra to give every resident a zero-emission service and a chance to experience this moment of history,” Wade  concluded

Remondis says the recent launch of the Coregas H2 station in Port Kembla, which is Australia’s first hydrogen refuelling station for heavy vehicles, has been pivotal in enabling the truck to commence operations. Remondis the hydrogen truck will be refuelled daily, with each refuelling stop taking about 15 minutes.

The company  says that trials have shown the truck can travel approximately 200 kilometres which means it can complete full waste collection runs without refuelling, the same as conventional diesel trucks.

The cloompany claims powering the truck with hydrogen will result in 25,000 litres of diesel fuel being saved annually, which it says is  the amount a conventional diesel-powered waste collection truck of this size uses.

It also claims that ip to 75 tonnes of carbon emissions will also be eliminated each year and points to the fact that heavy-duty transport is known to cause about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions globally. Being driven  electrically,  also means that  the truck is also significantly quieter than diesel trucks.

The truck has been developed by Hyzon in partnership with leading Australian waste collection and compaction equipment manufacturer,  Superior Pak, to ensure both the body and powertrain meet the resource recovery industry’s unique operational needs.

Hyzon Motors’ president of international operations ,John Edgley said global industries were watching the Illawarra developments closely.

“Today’s announcement is a ‘real game changer’ for the world’s decarbonisation journey”, Edgley said.

“We’re making it very clear that we’ve got a product now, the first product that’s been designed locally, that’s ready to go into market and this step forward will give more confidence that as a trucking sector, we can start transitioning larger fleets in companies that have thousands of vehicles,” he said.

Wollongong City Council and Shellharbour City Council, which Remondis contracts to, have  both been instrumental in supporting and enabling the breakthrough.

“This is a really exciting development and is a proactive step forward in adapting to new technologies that can help reduce our city’s emissions,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

Meanwhile Shellharbour City Mayor, Chris Homer said  he applauds Remondis and Hyzon for the initiative on the project, which will help the council prepare for a low carbon future.