Hydrogen-powered road trains to reduce fuel use in Pilbara

Holcim, Scania and HYDI are partnering to decarbonise the logistics chain in Australia's remote north-west. Image credit: Holcim Australia

Holcim Australia is implementing hydrogen technology to reduce emissions and fuel consumption in its road trains operating across the Pilbara region.

The company, using Scania R620 V8 Euro 5 prime movers, transports quarry materials with up to 100-ton payloads over distances from 10 km to 600 km.

To cut Scope 3 emissions, Holcim retrofitted two prime movers with HYDI Hydrogen on Demand HY2500 units, which produce hydrogen for internal combustion engines.

This retrofit has decreased fuel consumption by up to 15 per cent and emissions significantly, Holcim said in a news release.

“On top of the fuel consumption figures, excitingly, we’re seeing the additional emission reductions of 17% less carbon dioxide (CO2), 80% lower diesel particulate matter (DPM), 22% lower nitrogen oxides (NOX), and 25% lower carbon monoxide (CO),” said Adam Evans, Logistics Manager for Aggregates Western Australia at Holcim.

Meanwhile, Robert Taylor, general manager of Mining at Scania Australia, stated that the reductions in fuel burn and emissions are in line with their objective to decrease emissions across their products’ lifetimes.

Following initial success, Holcim plans to install HYDI systems in two more prime movers and some contractor fleet vehicles across Western Australia.

“We are also exploring options to have HYDI units installed on other equipment including diesel generators and heavy mining equipment,” Evans added.

The HYDI units, developed in Australia, produce hydrogen from distilled water through electrolysis.

This hydrogen supplements diesel fuel, enhancing combustion efficiency and reducing emissions.

Benefits include increased torque, reduced fuel consumption, extended service intervals, and lower emissions, making it a cost-effective solution for heavy machinery.

“HYDI’s technology harnesses the benefits of hydrogen in an efficient, affordable and sophisticated way scaled to apply to multiple applications,” said John Wilson, managing director of HYDI.

Scania has supported the project, ensuring smooth installation of the HYDI units and maintaining the original repair and maintenance packages.

“Scania stepped up to the project, made sure we had all the vehicle and system information needed for a smooth installation of the HYDI units, and are eager to help us extend the project even further,” added Evans.

According to Holcim, the HYDI Hydrogen on Demand system offers a practical solution for integrating hydrogen into existing diesel technology.

“In Australia we have to say that realistically the general availability of reliable, affordable hydrogen as a fuel for heavy haulage is still some way off, particularly regarding use in remote mining operations,” said Taylor.