Volvo opens first dedicated fuel cell lab

By Ian Cameron18 May 2021

Lab is also the first facility in Volvo Group to be testing complete fuel cell units

Volvo Group has opened its first dedicated fuel cell lab in a move which the company said marks a “significant advancement in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040.”

As part of the company’s commitment to the Science-Based Targets initiative – a necessary measure to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – and the Group’s long-term ambition to be 100% fossil-free by 2040, this investment will offer Volvo Group conditions to test and develop hydrogen fuel cell technology solutions in heavy construction machines and other applications, it said.

Toni Hagelberg Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, in the new Fuel Cell Test Lab Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, in the new Fuel Cell Test Lab

The lab, located at the Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) Technical Center in Eskilstuna, Sweden, represents a big step forward in the company’s commitment to hydrogen, said Volvo.

It added that the lab is also the first facility in Volvo Group to be testing complete fuel cell units and will as such be a strong contributor to the company’s dedication to fuel cell technology.

Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE, says: “Fuel cell technology is a key enabler of sustainable solutions for heavier construction machines, and this investment provides us with another vital tool in our work to reach Science-Based Targets.

“The lab will also serve Volvo Group globally, as it’s the first to offer this kind of advanced testing. It’s a really exciting step to accelerate the development of fuel cell solutions towards our united vision for a carbon neutral society.”

Volvo CE said it sees hydrogen fuel cell technology as playing a key role within its overall electromobility ambitions, together with battery electric solutions, as demonstrated by the electric compact machines, and more sustainable internal combustion engine offerings – with all three streams working in alignment on the journey towards a carbon neutral society.

While battery electric solutions are ideal for urban construction and other use cases, the size of the batteries is simply too impractical for larger machines and heavy construction equipment, which is where hydrogen comes in as a promising alternative, the company added.

“Hydrogen can be produced in many different ways and it’s important to have a life-cycle approach across the entire value chain”, said Hagelberg. “Not only will the research and development carried out at the test lab be dedicated to producing fossil-free construction solutions, we will also look at how the hydrogen itself has been produced and strive for so called “green” hydrogen produced from renewable energy.”

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