Pure Hydrogen and PepsiCo to Begin Trial of Hydrogen-Fueled Trucks in Brisbane

Queensland's electric vehicle strategy.

In partnership with Pure Hydrogen, PepsiCo Australia will start the trial of a hydrogen-fueled heavy-duty truck at one of its Brisbane manufacturing sites.

Pure Hydrogen will supply a 160kW hydrogen fuel cell Prime Mover truck to PepsiCo. It will also include additional hydrogen fuel and refuelling as necessary. Pure Hydrogen will also provide repair and maintenance services.  This is part of the six-month trial that will begin in the second half of 2023. 

The purpose of the trial is to demonstrate the use of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (HFCV) on a commercial scale. This will also be the first for the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry. 

Under the agreement, Pure Hydrogen will receive $98,400 over the six month trial; then PepsiCo will have the option to lease the truck from the company. Should PepsiCo choose to lease the truck, it will need to pay a monthly rate of $10,554 over a seven-year term. 

On the other hand, if PepsiCo chooses not to keep the truck at the end of the trial, Pure Hydrogen can lease it to another company. 

Fuel cell vehicles using hydrogen: how does it work?

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) use electricity to run the electric motor via a fuel cell powered by hydrogen. Therefore, it doesn’t get electricity from just a battery. Most FCEVs use the battery to recapture the braking energy and provide more power during short acceleration. 

There are so many benefits to FCEVs. One is their performance, as they are very quiet and energy efficient. In addition, it’s widely available with major automakers offering them for sale or lease. The number of fuel cell vehicles is also increasing, resulting in stakeholders ensuring hydrogen is even more available today. 

Although a fuel cell vehicle costs more than conventional cars, most leasing packages are reasonable with several inclusions, such as service, maintenance, and fuel. With these included, owning an FCEV is an excellent alternative to petrol or diesel-fueled cars. 

Hydrogen technology

Electrolysers are responsible for hydrogen technology. It uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen with no greenhouse gases. Earlier this year, Australian researchers made a giant step forward to lift the efficiency of electrolysers, making green hydrogen even more competitive compared to fossil fuels as an energy source. 

Hyatt developed patented capillary-fed electrolysis cells at the University of Wollongong. This development allows electrolysis cells to achieve 95 per cent efficiency, reducing waste significantly. 

Although electrolysis has been around for two centuries, the challenge is reducing the cell’s electrical resistance. According to Gerry Swiegers, the chief technology officer of Hysata and UoW professor said, “What we did differently was just to start completely over and to think about it from a very high level. Everyone else was looking at improving materials or an existing design.”

They used materials that are readily available to create a thin member, similar to a sponge, that sucks the water up between two electrodes. 

With this, it can be helpful to Australia in building core electrolyser technology by establishing a plant that can produce one gigawatt of electrolysers a year. 

Currently, several hydrogen projects across Australia can bring more FECVs to the market. 

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