Pioneering diesel-hydrogen vehicles are expected to reduce fuel consumption, air pollution and noise
FIFE, SCOTLAND – The world’s first dual-fuel refuse collection vehicles, each running on a combination of diesel and hydrogen, and equipped with a fully automatic Allison transmission, are now in service in Scotland. This bold new initiative, taken by Fife Council, is expected to reduce tailpipe emissions, cut vehicle running costs and reduce engine noise while making the vehicles easier and safer for crews to operate.
At a time when local authorities throughout the U.K. are under great financial pressure, Fife Council decided to purchase two dual-fuel refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) after assessing total lifecycle value costs of the vehicles. As part of an overall procurement process, six additional diesel fuel RCVs equipped with Allison transmissions were also acquired.
All eight of Fife Council’s new RCVs are based on the 26-ton Mercedes-Benz Econic chassis, with identical Heil PowerLink bodies and Terberg bin lifters. The Econic is powered by the 7.7-liter six-cylinder Mercedes OM 936 LA engine, which delivers 220-260 kW (299-354 horsepower) through Allison’s 3000 Series™ six-speed fully automatic transmission. The vehicles will operate on a demanding stop-start route every Monday to Friday for 15 hours each day.
"To decide which vehicles are best-suited to our operations, we assess a multitude of data and historical evidence including evaluation of our own vehicles over many years of in-house service," said Robin O’Connell, fleet management professional at Fife Council. "Since the capital budget for our vehicle replacement program was drastically reduced three years ago, it has become even more important that our new vehicles are fit for purpose with excellent longevity."
Making Local Authority’s assets work harder & safer
"Sweating these assets is the key to achieving our new fleet strategy - vehicles must last longer before there’s the need for replacement," said O’Connell. "This has increased the need to use more quality vehicle products and their associated components, such as Allison transmissions, to reduce the risk of early issues arising in our new fleet."
Allison’s fully automatic transmission will make the new RCVs safer for crews, allowing the driver to focus on traffic without the distraction of manually engaging a clutch or changing gears. Allison’s Continuous Power Technology™ ensures superior vehicle manoeuvrability and control while inching along congested traffic and on narrow roads; the patented torque converter and uninterrupted power shifts deliver unrivalled startability; and Allison’s advanced 5th generation electronic controls implement the best shift strategies for optimum fuel economy.
"We’re proud that Allison’s 3000 Series transmission is playing an essential part on these pioneering vehicles," said Thomas Bonnicel, director of EMEA marketing for Allison Transmission. "There are increasing pressures in both the public sector and the private sector to take action to reduce air pollution. Allison technology, with proven fuel economy benefits, will play a role in meeting that challenge."
Reducing emissions to address local air quality and climate change
The dual-fuel technology from ULEMCo enables hydrogen to be injected in the air inlet and then mixed with diesel and used directly in the combustion engine. Volumes of compressed hydrogen are stored in 350-bar tanks fitted to the left-side of the Econic chassis, providing additional hydrogen fuel on board. The retrofitted hydrogen kit includes a carefully controlled engine management system that optimizes the use of hydrogen in the diesel mix to provide maximum emission reduction with a balance of performance and range.
"This is a significant project because applying our approach on vehicles that use established brands like Mercedes and Allison Transmission is part of demonstrating the credibility of our approach for customers, in real world use," said Amanda Lyne, managing director of ULEMCo.
"Although these are the world’s first dual-fuel refuse collection vehicles, dual-fuel technology is part of a research and development program over the last seven years," said Lyne. "We’ve applied the core technology to everything from vans and boats to stationary generators and it’s particularly suited to a heavy vehicle that has to make frequent stops and starts. The main benefits will be lower air pollution and less noise disturbance."