New hydrogen fuel cell is ‘more efficient than diesel engines’


A hydrogen fuel cell startup has claimed that its latest technology provides better fuel economy than a diesel engine. Canada-based Loop Energy unveiled its new hydrogen fuel cell at the IAA Transportation 2022 conference in Germany this week, saying it marks "a milestone" for the transport industry's transition to clean energies. At current fuel price levels, a commercial truck equipped with the S1200 hydrogen fuel cell could travel 179km (111 miles) with £100 worth of fuel, compared to 175km for a diesel truck with the same amount of fuel.

"This is another sign to the transport industry that the transition away from fossil fuels must happen now," Ben Nyland, CEO of Loop Energy, told The Independent. "Already hydrogen-electric trucks are on our roads, and we expect them to become more commonplace in the years ahead, especially for the commercial vehicles industry, which is quickly embracing this technology as a way forward." Hydrogen fuel cells work by combining hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, with the only by-products being water and a small amount of heat.

Several leading vehicle makers have invested heavily in the technology for use in freight trucks, as they seek to transition to zero-emission transport.

Alternative battery technologies are currently seen as too heavy for medium- to heavy-duty commercial vehicles, though automakers like Tesla have built fully battery-powered trucks.

By making it a cost effective alternative to fossil fuels, the new system developed by Loop Energy overcomes one of the main challenges to mass adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

One major obstacle still remains, however, with refuelling infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles severely under-developed in the UK and most European countries outside of Germany.