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1. September 2023


“With the two new and now a total of three hydrogen-powered refuse collection vehicles, we at aha are setting a milestone when it comes to reducing emissions. This is because the EU Clean Vehicle Directive in conjunction with the “Clean Vehicles Procurement Act” sets a binding quota for the procurement of new zero-emission vehicles by 2025. We are on the right track with hydrogen-powered vehicles,” says Thomas Schwarz, Managing Director of Zweckverband Abfallwirtschaft Region Hannover.

The new refuse collection vehicles with ZOELLER MEDIUM X4 body and EPSILON Lifter are purely electrically powered. An 85 kWh battery is installed in the vehicle where the combustion diesel engine used to be. The electric drive is located between the front and rear axles. To ensure a sufficient and safe range, the vehicles are also equipped with a fuel cell that runs on hydrogen. When required, the fuel cell generates electrical energy and feeds the battery. Another very important plus is recuperation.

Over 20 % more range thanks to recuperation

During a daily tour, a refuse collection vehicle empties several hundred waste bins, depending on the district. To do this, the containers must be approached. The vehicle stops (brakes) to empty the bins, and the braking energy can be stored back into the battery through recuperation. This clearly shows how important recuperation is in electric refuse collection vehicles.

One to three fuel cells possible in the BLUEPOWER vehicle from ZOELLER

The manufacturer of the refuse collection vehicles, Zöller Kipper GmbH, can install one to three fuel cells in the BLUEPOWER vehicles, depending on requirements. In order to determine the required power range, Zöller collects data on site over a period of 14 days and analyses the area to ensure that the user receives an optimally configured vehicle.

“It is also very important to us at aha that the e-collection vehicles offer the same load of 11 tonnes and the same loading volume. Our collection areas are designed in such a way that the collection vehicle is practically fully loaded when the last bin in the area is emptied. This means that the new e-collection vehicles can be used immediately on the existing routes without having to change or reschedule the collection areas,” explains Dunja Veenker, Head of Waste and Recycling Collection at aha. In 2023, aha will take over a fourth and fifth BLUEPOWER vehicle from ZOELLER.

The “Alternative drives for waste collection vehicles” project is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport with a total of 1,504,242.00 euros as part of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. The funding guideline is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by Projektträger Jülich (PtJ).

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