Clean fuels in freight transport: Where are we? Where are we heading?

Representatives of various projects along the Scandria®Corridor explored decarbonisation of freight transport during our clean fuels seminar in Hamburg.

On 30 August 2023, the members of the clean fuels task force of the Scandria®Alliance were invited by our associate member Logistics Initiative Hamburg to participate in a seminar regarding the transition to clean fuels in freight transport. The seminar offered experiences from different projects within the Scandria®Corridor and an expert view on the future clean fuels deployment.

Lotta Möllerfalk, Eastern Norway County Network, reported about experiences made in the Green Energy Stations project. Following a technology-open approach, the project supports municipalities in Eastern Norway in setting up refuelling and recharging infrastructure to decarbonise heavy duty vehicle traffic. She underlined that municipalities have an important role in identifying suitable locations and bringing the stakeholders together. This is of special importance, since setting up alternative fuel infrastructure is not yet standardised, and depends very much on local conditions. To make it a business case, collaboration of public administration, fuel providers, fuelling station operators and hauliers is needed.
Download Lotta’s slides

Anja Fröhlich, Ministry of Economics, Infrastructure, Tourism and Labour Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, explained the approach of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region project HyTruck, aiming at ramping up a network of hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) in the Baltic Sea Region. The project shall enable regional stakeholders to plan hydrogen refuelling stations. In regional pilots, partners from Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany will test HRS planning guidelines that are currently developed by research partners. One major challenge are uncertainties related to technological and economic aspects as well as the need to involve numerous stakeholders in the planning process.
Download Anja’s slides

Karin Debacher, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), informed about the Clean Port & Logistics Project. The project aims at decarbonising the container terminal Tollerort in the port of Hamburg by piloting hydrogen-powered port handling machines.

Bringing producers of port handling equipment, port and logistics companies, hydrogen producers, software companies as well as refuelling station operators together, the project shall provide practical experience on how hydrogen can be used to decarbonise port operations. Karin underlined that hydrogen has been chosen because of its energy density as well as quicker refuelling processes compared to battery electric solutions, since the port handling equipment needs to be in operation 24/7 which is very energy consuming.
Download Karin’s slides

Dr. Stefan Rehm, Hypion GmbH, presented experiences from setting up a local hydrogen hub in Neumünster, Schleswig-Holstein. He stressed that introducing hydrogen into the market requires a holistic approach, addressing the whole hydrogen ecosystem from production to consumers. To generate a business case, a hydrogen network needs to get steadily expanded. Still, given the higher costs of hydrogen, the start-up will require substantial public investment. The network itself should be planned in order to be operated on commercial terms.

In the following interactive discussions, participants agreed that there are already many successful pilots available, covering a range of different clean fuel options. However, rolling out alternative fuel solutions in the freight transport sector will require favourable framework conditions, public financial support, a clear commitment to decarbonisation as well as collaboration of a broad range of stakeholders from industry, administration and politics. In addition, all stakeholders have to pay notice to the interconnection between transport and energy systems to upscale the availability of technological solutions on the market. There is however no time for “perfect solutions”. Hence, policy makers at the European and national levels should create a favourable arena for deploying clean fuels in the freight transport sector. Regional policy makers should offer support in coordination of stakeholders within the regional clean fuels ecosystems.

The outcomes of the Scandria®Alliance clean fuel workshop have fed into a brochure highlighting already existing clean fuel initiatives along the Scandria®Corridor published in early November 2023.