Since last year, a Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck fuel-cell prototype has been undergoing intensive testing on the in-house test track and on public roads. Daimler Truck is now putting another prototype into operation to test the use of liquid hydrogen.

A newly installed prototype filling station at the development and testing centre in Woerth enables the refuelling with liquid hydrogen. Recently, the automaker celebrated the first successful liquid hydrogen (LH2) refuelling of the truck together with Air Liquide. During the refuelling process, cryogenic liquid hydrogen at minus 253 degrees Celsius is filled into two 40 kg tanks mounted on either side of the chassis. Thanks to the particularly good insulation of the vehicle tanks, the hydrogen can be kept at temperature for a sufficiently long time without active cooling.

Daimler Truck prefers liquid hydrogen in the development of hydrogen-based drives. In this aggregate state the energy carrier has a significantly higher energy density in relation to volume compared to gaseous hydrogen. As a result, more hydrogen can be carried, which significantly increases the range and enables comparable performance of the vehicle with that of a conventional diesel truck. The development objective of the series-ready GenH2 Truck is a range of up to 1,000 kilometres (620 miles). This makes the truck suitable for flexible and demanding applications, especially heavy duty, long haul transport. The start of series production for hydrogen-based trucks is planned for the second half of the decade.

Daimler Truck is also working with Linde on the development of a new process for handling liquid hydrogen (subcooled liquid hydrogen, sLH2 technology). This innovative approach enables even higher storage density and easier refuelling compared to LH2. The companies plan for the first refuelling of a prototype vehicle at a pilot station in Germany in 2023. Daimler Truck and its partners are planning for a high level of transparency and openness around the relevant interfaces of the jointly developed sLH2 technology. The goal is to collaborate with other companies and associations as possible to develop their own refuelling and vehicle technologies that apply the new liquid hydrogen standard and thereby establish a global mass market for the new process.

When it comes to infrastructure for hydrogen filling stations along important transport routes in Europe, Daimler Truck is planning to work with Shell, BP and TotalEnergies. Daimler Truck is also a shareholder in hydrogen filling station operator H2 Mobility Deutschland. In addition, Daimler Truck, Iveco, Linde, OMV, Shell, TotalEnergies and the Volvo Group have committed to work together to create the conditions for the mass market roll out of hydrogen trucks in Europe as part of the H2Accelerate (H2A) interest group.