Could waste to energy fuel refuse collection vehicles? Hydrogen plans for Meath Waste to Energy

In early 2020 Indaver will lodge a planning application to install a 9MW electrolyser and hydrogen refuelling station at Meath Waste to Energy. This will allow the use of energy that would otherwise be wasted when asked to power down by the grid operator. This typically happens on windy days when there is more supply than demand for electricity. 

Fife, Scotland, brings two hydrogen fuelled refuse trucks into operation

Renewable energy can be used to power electrolysers to produce hydrogen from water. By utilising renewable energy, it in turn produces renewable hydrogen that has the potential to decarbonise transport and heating sectors.

What is driving the use of alternative fuels?

The Climate Action Plan clearly set out the Irish government’s ambitions to decarbonise the economy. In order to meet the  required level of emissions reduction, by 2030  it will implement a carbon tax rate of at least €80 per tonne by 2030, accompanied by a trajectory of increases over successive annual Budgets. Therefore companies which face a carbon tax, and know it is going to increase over time, have strong incentives to reduce their carbon output and to seek renewable alternative. Hydrogen fuelled vehicles present a viable means of decarbonising transport.

There is currently a small industrial hydrogen market in Ireland with plans underway to develop a hydrogen transport sector and a heat sector through hydrogen grid injection. A number of pilots and trials are currently taking place across Europe where hydrogen is being used to fuel buses, cars and trains.

Bus Éireann is considering commencing a trial during 2020 using three dedicated hydrogen double decker buses on a route going through Dublin city centre to Ashbourne in Co. Meath. This would serve as an important signal for future public transport investment decisions.

When used in a fuel cell vehicle, hydrogen ensures:

• Fast refuelling (<3 minutes for a car)

• Long range (passenger cars have a range of over 650 km)

• No air pollutant emissions

• A pathway to complete decarbonisation of road transport

• Integration of intermittent renewables in transport

 

What trials are happening elsewhere?

The HECTOR Project spans 7 Northern European countries, focused on hydrogen fuel refuse collection vehicles. Some of the vehicles will collect municipal waste on a fixed schedule, other will collect industrial waste on a flexible schedule. The aim is to provide an effective solution to reduce emissions from road transport in the North West Europe area.

Since 2012 Aberdeen city council, in response to a reliance of fossil fuels, developed 2 electrolysers for the manufacture of hydrogen. The current fleet of vehicles include, but are not limited to:

  • 10 x single decker buses              (dedicated hydrogen)
  • 1 x street sweeper                        (diesel/hydrogen hybrid)
  • 2 x refuse collection vehicles        (diesel/hydrogen hybrids)

 

A major benefit is the average refuelling time of 5-7 minutes for dedicated hydrogen buses and refuse collection vehicles, with average consumption rates of 30kgs per 300 kilometres. Similar projects have been seen elsewhere; in 2018 Grundon Waste Management pioneered the first duel fuel (diesel/hydrogen) rear end loader vehicle in London. There are plans for hydrogen bus vehicles in both Liverpool and Birmingham.

For further information on Indaver’s hydrogen plans, please contact James Cronin at 086-7819593 or james.cronin(at)indaver(dot)com

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