SWA partners with energy firm to identify financial case for fuel cell technology

The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) has teamed up with Arcola Energy to identify the business case for fuel cell technology in the UK’s transition to zero-emission road freight.

The Scottish Hydrogen Fuel Cell Freight Trial (SHyFT), led by London-based Arcola Energy, includes partnerships with, NewCold, the University of St Andrews, BOC, and Scottish Power.

Funding for the project has been secured from the Department of Transport’s Zero Emission Road Freight programme for the design of a trial of hydrogen fuel cell trucks, supported by a green hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Scotland.

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The trial will use the knowledge gained from field testing battery-electric vehicles in a real-world context and conducting feasibility studies to help develop new solutions to assist the uptake of zero-emission trucks.

The SHyFT will help to design and develop cost-effective, zero-emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and their refuelling infrastructure in the UK.

According to Arcola Energy, the project will evaluate the potential for zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) with key freight operators looking to decarbonise operations in emission-sensitive sectors like wholesale food and beverage logistics – including cold chain – as well as utilities and forestry.

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Strategy director at Arcola Energy, Richard Kemp-Harper, said, “The key objective of the project is to identify early adopters in heavy-duty freight sectors with a strong drive to decarbonise operations,”

“By understanding their use cases, we can specify vehicle and infrastructure requirements for what they need now with a view to expanding capacity and capabilities in other sectors and vehicle types over time.”

Chief executive of the SWA, Colin Smith, commented, “We are now in Phase 2 of our own Decarbonisation of the Wholesale Industry Project designed to help members and the wider wholesale sector become greener and more sustainable.

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“SWA’s involvement in the SHyFT project puts our sector and members at the forefront of the creation of greener fleets and creates a huge opportunity for members to be the first to transition to fuel cell HGVs.”

There is a potential for a future trial involving a test fleet of 20-30 trucks, pending the outcome of the initial project. A total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis will also be included to assist operators in determining sustainability.


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