Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Green hydrogen as promising solution for heavy-duty transport
Colruyt Group & AB Inbev believe that green hydrogen is a promising zero-emission solution for the heavy-duty trucking industry. Both parties want to develop a market for green hydrogen fuel and hydrogen fuel cell trucks, together with their respective transport partners. The collaboration includes that both parties will study the rollout of hydrogen trucks and refueling stations on a large scale. In the upcoming 5 years, both parties want to work together to accelerate the transition of hydrogen economy by establishing a 360-degree H2 ecosystem: renewable hydrogen production, a network of hydrogen refueling stations and hydrogen fuel cell trucks. Belgium is the initial geographical focus for this project. To develop the hydrogen ecosystem in Belgium, AB Inbev & Colruyt Group will make joint efforts:
Phase 1: Setting up first pilots
Phase 2: roll out of first stations and trucks
- AB Inbev & Colruyt Group will involve transport partners on their way to zero emission.
- Both parties will build common expertise: AB InBev will be the first supplier to the 44-tonne hydrogen truck that Colruyt Group previously tested as an EU first in its logistics process.
- AB Inbev & Colruyt Group want to set up a dedicated lane by a hydrogen truck between their logistics hubs.
- Investigate the rollout of hydrogen trucks and refueling stations.
- High capacity hydrogen stations by DATS 24, the fuel supplier of Colruyt Group, to launch the market.
- Purchase of hydrogen trucks.
Transition towards a carbon neutral society
Fuel cell and hydrogen technology is a very promising zero-emission powertrain solution for the heavy-duty trucking industry. Within electrification of heavy commercial vehicles, there is no one-size-fits-all-universal solution. Jef Colruyt adds: “Colruyt Group is very pleased to see that key suppliers such as AB Inbev, will jointly explore hydrogen fuel cell trucks – it strengthens us that we are making the right choices here”.
These trucks are powered by electricity generated by an onboard fuel cell using hydrogen as fuel. They provide an operational performance comparable to diesel trucks regarding daily range, refueling time and payload capacity. This technology will play a key role in the transition towards a carbon neutral society. Furthermore, in pure electric mode, the truck is very quiet, which fits in with our pursuit of more silent deliveries to the stores. “No single company can build a more sustainable future alone, we are proud to partner with Colruyt Group. As a brewer we rely on natural ingredients, we see it as our responsibility to invest in green logistics,” says Fabio Sala, Head AB InBev BeNeFraLux.
The hydrogen truck test fits in with the European demonstration project ‘Hydrogen region 2.0’ to develop knowhow and experience with large-scale hydrogen applications in logistics. By widely sharing the experience gained, Hydrogen region 2.0. wants to inspire other large logistic centres to adopt hydrogen-powered vehicles as well. The project is made possible with financial support by the European Union in the framework of the Interreg Vlaanderen-Nederland program.
Two experienced pioneering partners joining forces
AB InBev has a clear path towards greener logistics, and positions itself as a first mover with recent investments in the two very first Belgian e-trucks. In December 2020, AB InBev pioneered the very first Belgian e-truck to soon deliver emission-free to horeca in Leuven. A second e-truck will follow shortly. This intention to pilot a hydrogen truck is yet another proof of its belief in green logistics. The various transport operations in Belgium were previously optimized by using ecocombi’s – collaboration with Colruyt - beer boats and trains, and by producing Stella Artois' overseas volumes locally. In 2019 AB InBev completed its first zero-emission beer delivery in the USA, 18 months after placing an order for 800 hydrogen-electric semi-trucks. These green logistics operations, are in line with the 2025 sustainability goals to reduce 25% of CO2 by 2025.
Colruyt Group has always believed in the importance of hydrogen to make mobility and power supply more sustainable. The retail group has the ambition to invest over 35 million euros in innovative applications using hydrogen and it has been producing its own green hydrogen for almost a decade, mainly as energy support for forklift trucks and passenger cars in its fleet. In 2018, Colruyt Group started offering hydrogen to the larger public in the DATS 24 fuel station in Halle, Europe’s first all integrated fuel station offering hydrogen next to CNG, diesel, petrol, AdBlue and a fast charger for electric cars.. Four additional public fuel stations will be fitted with a hydrogen installation in the upcoming months: Haasrode, Wilrijk, Erpe-Mere and Herve. In December 2020, the retailer put the first 44-tonne hydrogen powered electric truck in Europe into service, developed by VDL Groep. Next to that, Colruyt Group is actively involved in the H2HAUL project, which will deploy 16 heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell trucks in four European countries. Colruyt Group will commission four additional hydrogen trucks by 2022. These trucks will refuel at a dedicated fuel station, built by DATS 24.
* What is hydrogen again?
Hydrogen, or H2, is the first element of Mendeleev's periodic table, which also means that it is the simplest element of it. Hydrogen is colourless, odourless, non-corrosive, non-oxidising, non-radioactive, non-carcinogenic and non-toxic in its gas form. Science identifies it with the symbol H2, which means that a hydrogen molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen rarely occurs in nature in its pure form, so it has to be produced. This can be done using electrolysis. This is a chemical process in which water is split by electricity into hydrogen and oxygen. The resulting hydrogen is only ‘green’ if renewable electricity is used.
In case of questions and / or remarks, please contact;
- Colruyt Group: Press Service, firstname.lastname@example.org / 0473 92 45 10
- AB Inbev: Laure Stuyck , email@example.com / 0473 56 83 71
About AB Inbev
The origins of our business go back to 1366 to the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven. In 1987, the Interbrew brewing group was formed by the merger of two major Belgian breweries, Artois (Leuven) and Piedboeuf (Liège, Jupille). Interbrew was the basis for AB InBev, which was formed in 2004 through the combination of Interbrew with Brazilian AmBev. In 2008, InBev combined with Anheuser-Busch to form Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's leading brewer. Our company has a long history of craftsmanship, quality, innovation and service to consumers and partners. Our dream is to bring people together for a better world. Beer, the original social network, has been bringing people together for thousands of years. We are committed to building great brands that stand the test of time and to brewing the finest beers from the finest natural ingredients. Our diverse portfolio of more than 500 beer brands includes global brands like Budweiser®, Corona® and Stella Artois®; international brands like Hoegaarden® and Leffe®; and local champions like Jupiler®.