Vehicle manufacturer unveils America's first hydrogen garbage truck: 'An unstoppable, sustainable refuse collection powerhouse'

The waste management industry is cleaning up its act thanks to America's first hydrogen garbage truck, which was showcased at a Waste Expo in Las Vegas earlier this month.

The Class 8 fuel cell-powered electric refuse truck is the brainchild of Hyzon, a pioneering global hydrogen fuel cell developer, and New Way Trucks, a leading garbage collection equipment manufacturer, per a Hyzon press release.

"Building on Hyzon's fuel cell electric refuse vehicle experience in Australia, Hyzon and New Way's strategic partnership assembled a historic vehicle to eliminate emissions within a hard-to-abate industry," Hyzon chief executive officer Parker Meeks said in the release.

"This is evidence of our shared mission to provide North American refuse collection fleets with an alternative power solution that both meets zero emissions requirements and performs the hard work a refuse truck needs to deliver day in and day out."


The waste and recycling solutions company Bigbelly reported that garbage trucks are the worst contributors to vehicle pollution on a per-mile basis in cities. They have the lowest fuel economy, averaging about 2.5 miles per gallon, and have the third highest fuel consumption among major vehicles.

While natural gas is often touted as a cleaner alternative to oil, BigBelly explained that compressed natural gas-powered refuse trucks generate even more pollution than those fueled by conventional diesel — which produce around 110 tons of equivalent carbon gas annually.

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On the other hand, garbage trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells only release water vapor, according to Hyzon, making them a clean solution for one of the world's dirtiest industries.

There have also been other exciting developments in waste management, including an unlikely business dealing between Mercedes Benz and garbage collection company Urbaser, which added five of the luxury car brand's fully electric refuse trucks to its fleet.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a $1 billion grant program to replace diesel-powered garbage trucks with electric vehicles as well.

Not only will these innovations help reduce the dangerous pollution that's causing more extreme weather and poor health outcomes for humans, but it will also make cities a cleaner place to live — a win-win for people and the planet.

But the benefits of Hyzon's groundbreaking refuse trucks don't stop there. According to Electrek, 200-kilowatt fuel cell systems provide the juice for the company's trucks. Hyzon says its fuel cells offer several advantages over others in the industry: They're 30% smaller and lighter, 25% cheaper to manufacture, and 20% more fuel efficient.

"Hyzon's high-performance hydrogen fuel cells are tough enough to provide consistent power over 125 miles, including up to 1,200 cart lifts and trips to the transfer station," the news release stated. "Combine that with the strength and durability of New Way's most-requested automated side loader — the Sidewinder XTR — with smooth arm operation, up to a 12-foot reach and large 6-cubic-yard hopper for an unstoppable, sustainable refuse collection powerhouse."

Looking ahead, New Way and Hyzon will demo the trucks in California, partnering with San Francisco-based waste and recycling hauler Recology.

Recology CEO Sal Coniglio said, "Recology has been preparing to transition our fleet to zero emission vehicles for nearly six years, and we've yet to see a hydrogen fuel cell powered refuse truck on the market during that time. This development is a major milestone, and we're thrilled to be the first to demo this technology to help move our business and the industry forward."

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