In a bid to cut refuse collection vehicle (RCV) running costs and engine noise, reduce tailpipe emissions and make vehicles easier and safer for crews to operate, Fife Council is running the world’s first dual-fuel fleet, each operating on a combination of diesel and hydrogen and equipped with automatic transmission.
As part of an overall procurement process, six additional diesel fuel RCVs equipped with Allison transmissions were also acquired.
All eight of Fife’s RCVs are based on the 26-tonne Mercedes-Benz Econic chassis, with Heil PowerLink bodies and Terberg bin lifters.
The Econic is powered by the 7.7-litre six-cylinder OM 936 LA engine, which delivers 220-260kW (299-354hp) through Allison’s 3000 Series six-speed automatic transmission. The vehicles will operate on a demanding stop-start route every Monday to Friday for 15 hours each day.
Robin O’Connell, fleet management professional at Fife, said: “Sweating these assets is the key to achieving our new fleet strategy: vehicles must last longer before there is the need for replacement.”
The dual-fuel technology from ULEMCo enables hydrogen to be injected into the air inlet and then mixed with diesel for use directly in the combustion engine. Volumes of compressed hydrogen are stored in 350bar tanks fitted to the side of the chassis, providing additional on-board fuel.
Amanda Lyne, managing director of ULEMCo, said: “This is a significant project because applying our approach on vehicles that use established brands like Mercedes and Allison is part of demonstrating the credibility of our approach for customers, in real world use.
“Dual-fuel technology is part of a research and development programme for the past seven years. We have applied the core technology to everything from vans and boats to stationary generators. It is particularly suited to a heavy vehicle that has to make frequent stops and starts. The main benefits will be lower air pollution and less noise disturbance.”
Allison’s 3000 Series transmission with Continuous Power Technology ensures superior vehicle manoeuvrability and control while inching along congested traffic and on narrow roads, while electronic controls implement the best shift strategies for optimum fuel economy.