Entsorgung Herne is investing 14.7 million euros in the purchase of 13 waste collection vehicles and two road sweepers with hydrogen-based fuel cell drives as well as in the retrofitting of the maintenance and repair garage and depot garages on the company’s premises. By the end of 2022, 15 heavy vehicles from the fleet will gradually be replaced by fuel cell vehicles.

This project is being funded under the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology with a total of 9.26 euros by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The funding guideline is being coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by Projektträger Jülich (PtJ).

Fulfilling responsibility for environmental and climate protection

Sustainability, resource and climate protection are one of the most important goals for the municipal company.  Fully electric vehicles are being used/will be delivered this year in various areas of the company. In this context, Entsorgung Herne has also engaged with the potential of vehicles with fuel cell drives (FC vehicles) in the area of specialized heavy vehicles. Along with the zero-emissions aspect, range, powertrain strength and transport efficiency match the required profile for refuse collection and street cleaning. On this basis, a comprehensive funding application for the government’s National Investment Programme was submitted at the beginning of October.

The strategic goal of Entsorgung Herne for the next few years is to continue to reduce using conventional, diesel-operated vehicles and to gradually convert the entire 101-vehicle fleet to alternative, climate-friendly drives. With the funds granted at the end of December 2020, replacement purchases for 11 refuse collection trucks and two bulk waste vehicles as well as two large sweepers for street cleaning will be made. This will result in 2/3 of heavy vehicles in the area of waste collection and almost 1/3 of vehicles in street cleaning operating emission-free in central Herne.

Contribution to sustainable environmental protection in the city of Herne

The acquisition of FC vehicles will contribute to permanently reducing local emissions (including CO2, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, noise) in central Herne. The refuelling of FC vehicles will primarily happen at AGR’s hydrogen production and refuelling facility at the RZR Herte site, which plans to start production at the end of 2022. In future at this facility, through the use of electricity generated from thermal refuse via electrolysis, hydrogen can be produced which because of the biogenic share in the refuse, is considered 100% green hydrogen. Therefore Entsorgung Herne will not only operate CO2-neutrally and refuel with 100% green hydrogen, but it will also close a cycle.

Cooperation with municipal companies

Entsorgung Herne has joined forces with six other North-Rhine Westphalia waste management companies (Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg, Abfallwirtschaftsgesellschaft mbH Wuppertal, Abfallentsorgungs-Gesellschaft Ruhrgebiet mbH, Kommunale Servicebetriebe Recklinghausen, USB Bochum GmbH, Abfallentsorgung- & Eigenbetrieb Stadt Paderborn) to form a purchase cooperation. This cooperation simplifies the acquisition process for all cooperation partners, as in this way, services can be purchased in larger quantities, administrative costs reduced and joint market observation and research can be facilitated.

Delivery of seven FC vehicles in autumn 2021

The first tender for the FC vehicles within the purchase cooperation was already issued in mid-December 2020, so that in the third quarter of 2021, the first seven vehicles can be delivered to Entsorgung Herne. This makes Herne one of the first municipalities to experience hydrogen mobility with several vehicles.

Entsorgung Herne plans to continue to convert its fleet to FC vehicles beyond 2022. Provided enough funding is granted for FC vehicles for core refuse collection and street cleaning tasks, it is planned that 70% of special vehicles in the area of waste collection and almost 90% of large sweepers will be operating, emission-free, on the streets of Herne.