Hyzon Motors
Hyzon Hydrogen Fuel Truck 64fa182336e7c

Hyzon demos liquid hydrogen truck in Texas heat

Sept. 8, 2023
Hyzon Motors partnered with Performance Food Group and Chart Industries to demo a liquid hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle in Dallas, Texas.

Deep in the sweltering heart of Texas, Hyzon Motors'  liquid hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, LH2 FCEV, made its first commercial delivery run, according to the company, which develops fuel-cell technology and supplies heavy-duty FCEVs globally. The route started in Temple, a Central Texas city between Austin and Waco, and headed north to the Dallas area, where the truck operated for 16 continuous hours and traveled 540 miles—while at times contending with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F.

The eight total deliveries were made on behalf of Performance Food Group, a food service distribution company. The demonstration, which comprised a MY 2019 Freightliner Cascadia outfitted with Hyzon fuel-cell componentry,  was particularity notable as it showed the advantages of liquid hydrogen fuel over the gaseous form.

"With increased range and no added weight in comparison to our gaseous hydrogen trucks, we believe this liquid hydrogen demo run has demonstrated potential viability for the future of liquid hydrogen in commercial trucking," Hyzon CEO Parker Meeks said.

The liquid hydrogen was cooled to -400 degrees F. Chart Industries developed the tank system to store the LH2 and deliver it to the fuel-cell system at the necessary pressure. Certarus  provided the liquid hydrogen transportation, storage and dispensing, while Air Liquide supplied the LH2.

What it all means

Fuel cell trucks are thought to be a viable candidate to replace diesel trucks in over-the-road applications, and this test certainly lends credence to that argument, though cost and availability of hydrogen fuel remains a major obstacle to any wide-scale adoption.

Hyzon stated that LH2 fuel "has been estimated to be up to $5/kg less expensive all-in to dispense than high-pressure gaseous hydrogen, which would provide meaningful benefits to fleet owners."

Standing up to the heat also bodes well for this particular liquid hydrogen truck, though, as battery-electric vehicles are found to struggle in hotter climates. Due to A/C use, extreme heat may have a serious negative impact on electric vehicle batteries, with Recurrent Auto reporting that +100 degree F temperatures can reduce range by 31%. The research firm found this during passenger EV tests, thought with a limited sample size.

Read more: The dawn of hydrogen trucks

The results, if accurate, are also a great sign for reaching range parity with diesel, as well as for Meeks, who took over a full-time CEO in March. He was interim CEO starting in August 2022, after former CEO Craig Knight was removed due to financial reporting issues.

"The results we captured in the strenuous demo through Central Texas's diverse terrain and summer heat make us optimistic that, once commercialized, our liquid hydrogen vehicle powered by our proprietary 200kW fuel cell system should be able to provide long distance range between 650 and 800 miles, on par with many diesel truck range requirements," he said.

Meeks added that “simply put, we see liquid hydrogen as the economical approach to long range zero emission trucking”.

Jill Evanko, Chart’s CEO and president, agreed,

"This is a meaningful accomplishment for the hydrogen ecosystem, as long-haul and heavy duty transportation is a key end-use for liquid hydrogen,” Evanko stated. “Our investment in our unique cryogenic liquid hydrogen onboard tank and our liquid hydrogen test facility support progress in the hydrogen industry, with the Hyzon and PFG road demonstration another key step in the evolution of hydrogen commercialization.”

About the Author

John Hitch | Editor-in-chief, Fleet Maintenance

John Hitch is the editor-in-chief of Fleet Maintenance, where his mission is to provide maintenance management and technicians with the the latest information on the tools and strategies to keep their fleets' commercial vehicles moving.

He is based out of Cleveland, Ohio, and has worked in the B2B journalism space for more than a decade.

Hitch was previously senior editor for FleetOwner, and covers everything related to trucking and commercial vehicle equipment, including breaking news, the latest trends and best practices. He previously wrote about manufacturing and advanced technology for IndustryWeek and New Equipment Digest.

Prior to that he was editor for Kent State University's student magazine, The Burr, and a freelancer for Cleveland Magazine. He is an award-winning journalist and former sonar technician, where he served honorably aboard the fast-attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN-723).

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