The Kenworth Hydrogen FCEV truck on the stand  at the Brisbane Truck Show had an interesting  back story  with Geelong’s Deakin University revealing it is in a collaborative relationship with Kenworth’s parent company Paccar  to develop its Hycel hydrogen program Hycel zero-emissions solutions  program for domestic heavy haulage market.

The truck on display at the Brisbane Show is one of 10 prototype Kenworth T680 FCEVs in existence and was par of the  operational trials at the Port of Los Angeles last year using the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cells.

The truck forms the centre of Deakin’s Hycel hydrogen mobility program, which the university says has an initial focus on the performance characteristics of a heavy vehicle hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.

Deakin’s Hycel deputy research director, associate professor Michael Pereira, said it was a unique opportunity to work with one the world’s most advanced hydrogen trucks.

“Deakin specialises in industry-led research collaborations and partnering with Paccar Australia means our team has direct, hands-on access to the T680 to familiarise ourselves with its operability. This hardware is critical to complementing our laboratory work,” Pereira said.

Deakin says that Hycel will first analyse data from the US pilot program to understand how key elements of a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain perform and respond to operational demands.

“From here, we are developing state-of-the-art computer simulation models to predict the hydrogen fuel cell system and powertrain demands for Australia’s unique freight haulage conditions.

“Specifically, we’re addressing the Australian transport sector’s demands to deliver more payload per truck over longer distances, when compared to other places in the world,”  Pereira said.

Paccar underlined its commitment to future zero emission transport tech and says that while it continues to be a leader in diesel engine development, it is also at the forefront of future-fuels development and the transition towards zero-emissions transport.

The company said that  its future-fuels initiatives include the Kenworth T680 hydrogen FCEV at the Brisbane Show.

The T680 hydrogen truck  is fitted with a 630hp electric motor and with tanks capable of storing 60kg of hydrogen stored at 10,000psi it can supply enough energy to the fuel cell for a range of about 480km, with a 15-minute refuelling time.

As another window into Paccar’s zero emission future the company had a 19-tonne DAF LF Electric truck, which it says provides an ideal solution as a zero-emissions distribution truck, with a 260kW electric motor powered by a 282kWh battery pack and a range of up to 280km according to Paccar.

PACCAR’s commitment to driving future low- and zero-emissions technologies means Kenworth and DAF trucks will continue to be at the forefront of innovation and technology implementation.

Research has begun at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus and in the future will continue at the $24 million Hycel Technology Hub,  which the university describes as a’ bespoke hydrogen research, demonstration and training facility’, which is  currently under construction on Deakin’s Warrnambool campus and which is due for completion in November this year.

The university says that with the heavy transport sector currently contributing an estimated  two per cent to Australia’s carbon emissions, the Hycel program applies its engineering, materials, data and IT expertise to assist industry in its transition from diesel to zero-emissions hydrogen solutions.

According to Deakin, Hycel also works with industry on new training and education programs for the emerging hydrogen workforce, as well as social license to support broader awareness and acceptance of hydrogen’s place in Australia’s clean energy transition.

Deakin’s deputy vice chancellor research professor, Julie Owens said that the University was combining research expertise in science, technology and education to meet the needs of Australia’s emerging hydrogen industry.

“Decarbonising Australia’s heavy vehicle transport is a vital step toward reducing emissions and achieving reduction targets. As research and innovation partner to businesses like Paccar Australia, we are thrilled to advance uptake of hydrogen in our nation’s clean energy future,” professor Owens said.