The Nordic countries, especially Norway and Iceland, have taken major steps towards electrification of the transport with battery electric vehicles (BEVs). However, little has happened regarding larger vehicles as battery solution still are not able to provide heavy-duty users (such as buses, trucks and lorries) the mobility they need.
Fuel cell electric vehicles using hydrogen as a fuel can solve this. The focus of the first phase of the Next Wave project was on providing infrastructure for a larger scale deployment of trucks, buses and lorries. The goal of the first phase was to further strengthen the global technological lead of the Nordic countries by stimulating the very first hydrogen infrastructure made available for larger vehicles.
The project did in phase 1 deliver an analysis on large-scale transport of hydrogen with mobile pipeline, a description of the innovation and business potential for a roll-out of FC-buses in the Nordic region, as well as a coordinated action plan for stimulating the FC truck demand and a prospect for utilizing hydrogen in heavy-duty equipment. Finally, the project contributed to national and Nordic hydrogen strategy processes even providing input to a possible Nordic Hydrogen Strategy and preparing the ground for more innovation and business development.
Next Wave phase 2
During Phase 1 of the project (2019 - 2021), the heavy-duty hydrogen vehicle value chain from a Nordic perspective was emphasized resulting in publicly available reports and an at-hand key hydrogen insight toolbox intended for politicians, public authorities, leaders, and hydrogen stakeholders, and not least Nordic companies exploring opportunities for innovation and business in this area.
As a result, the project has gained an updated insight on the Nordic hydrogen activities and development, revealed hydrogen transport issues due to the ununiform national regulations. They have prepared the ground for an enlightened roll-out of heavy-duty vehicles while at the same time revealing the need for further education / influencing of the Nordic premise setters.
Key topics in phase 2 of Next Wave
- Liquid hydrogen (LH2)
Currently a pathway which some truck OEMs are exploring. Thus, it is necessary to expand our understanding of implications for infrastructure build up if LH2 becomes a fuel for future truck operations. Also, there are the first liquid marine operations under way (ferry in Norway) where LH2 in the first phase is trucked in from Leipzig in Germany. LH2 could therefore be a feedstock not only for trucks but also for marine activities.
- Mobile hydrogen refuelling station (HRS)
A mobile hydrogen refuelling station opens numerous pathways and increases the security of supply for truck and/or NRMM operations. Such mobile HRS are vital for refuelling of NRMM equipment and provide demonstration opportunities for trucks when no fixed hydrogen infrastructure is available on-site, as well as refuelling vehicles on the road, i.e., security of supply for truck operators in an early infrastructure build-up phase.
- Stimulating demand
Establishing a hydrogen truck project is more cumbersome than a project/initiative including a handful of cars. Companies are fine with testing new types of cars and the cost increase is maybe some 100 000 NOK. This is not the case for trucks were, at the moment, the cost might be 2.5-4 times higher for a zero-emission truck. This is expected to change fast in the coming years, but the initial steps will be complicated as many stakeholders have to be gathered around the table simultaneously. Hence, it is important to meet truck operators – provide them with insight as well as to learn from them what is needed. The purpose is to understand and try to make a layout where all stakeholders are participating at the same time. Also, to bridge the discussion regarding incentives as most of the partners in Next Wave have a frequent dialogue with government officials.
Building competence throughout the value chain is a key factor for a successful transition to zero emission heavy duty transport. A specific focus will be given to hydrogen trucks at the next Nordic Hydrogen Conference and the partners will raise the awareness of the conference to key truck companies. This of course is also intended to be education for variety of stakeholders so that the overall complexity of establishing truck and/or heavy-duty projects is understood. A close dialogue with Nordic politicians, political parties, and other premise setters is also necessary to promote the needed incentives across the Nordics for the use of hydrogen in transport.
Next Wave phase 3
In February 2024 the project enters a new phase. Focus in this phase will include how transportation can become emission-free with hydrogen trucks and hydrogen ships to the continent. Samskip is an associated partner in Next Wave and has two hydrogen ships under construction. They will operate between the Oslo Fjord and Rotterdam, forming a green corridor for trade between the countries.
The project will also conduct a survey of the flow of goods and the barriers to emissions-free transport corridors between the Nordic countries and the continent.
The Next Wave project has produced the following publications that are free to download by clicking the report covers below:
In May 2019 Nordic Innovation announced a call for proposals under the Nordic Smart and Mobility and Connectivity program. The call was meant to foster the establishment of Nordic innovation projects, new Nordic partnerships, value chains and/or business models that help to speed up the transition to a sustainable future, where Nordic citizens benefit from innovative mobility and connectivity solutions.
Nordic Innovation received 12 applications in response to the call, four of which were awarded support. The projects represent geographical variation, as well as a range of partners and project activities, in addition to the various transport modes.
Ingebjørg Telnes Wilhelmsen, Norwegian Hydrogen Forum