Funding approval notice received for the procurement of 4 waste collection vehicles with fuel cell technology

The environmental waste management company Abfallwirtschaft Sachsen-Anhalt Süd – AöR together with its subsidiaries EG SAS and Bio Komp-SAS GmbH, are responsible for providing a reliable service for the collection and disposal of waste from households and household-like refuse from commercial enterprises, using regional expertise. Having a commitment to the sustainable orientation of the entire processes of the recycling economy is an integral part of the company’s business. This not only involves finding environmentally compatible solutions for waste collection and recycling or the operation of landfills. It also involves the use of technology to reduce emissions that are harmful to the environment, which means the entire fleet of vehicles operated by the municipal group of companies will need to be gradually converted to new, more environmentally friendly drive systems.

This transformation is already being implemented in the scope of new vehicle procurements and has reached a new important stage with this latest notification of approval for four waste collection vehicles with alternative drive systems. The purchase of the four waste collection vehicles is being supported by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure with funding totalling 2.45 million euros as part of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. The funding guideline is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by Project Management Jülich (PtJ). With the receipt of the funding notice, the procurement of the four new vehicles can now be firmly implemented.

Vehicles with hydrogen technology are essentially electric vehicles. However, in contrast to a purely electric vehicle, vehicles with hydrogen technology are equipped with a fuel cell and a hydrogen tank. In turn, the fuel cell generates the electricity for the drive. Practical experience with waste disposal vehicles shows that fuel cell technology does not lead to restrictions in usability. Conversely, purely electric drives are unsuitable for waste collection in the Burgenland district due to factors such as short range, long charging times and a lack of charging infrastructure.

With the procurement of these vehicles, the municipal group of companies will comply with the implementation of the 2019 EU Directive on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles and on the amendment of public procurement regulations, which was only passed by the Bundestag on 5 May 2021. The directive sets minimum procurement quotas for two multi-year periods. For passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, the procurement quota is 38.5% until 31 December 2025 and also in the second period until 2030 at the same level. The values for trucks, on the other hand, are 10% until the end of 2025 and 15% from the beginning of 2026. Buses in local public transport commence at 4% and subsequently rise to 65% from 2026 onwards. In addition, the European Union has set a so-called minimum target that must be met. The minimum quotas apply to all contracting authorities operating in the public sector. The waste collection vehicles with hydrogen fuel cell technology will be put out to tender as part of the replacement procurements that are necessary in any event and are anticipated to be integrated into the EC SAS fleet from the fourth quarter of 2022 or the third quarter of 2023 (two vehicles each). By this time, at least one regional hydrogen refuelling facility will be in place. To support the infrastructure planning, a decision will be made at today’s board meeting to join the Burgenland District Hydrogen Network.

The goal of the municipal group of companies is to realise as many future vehicle procurements as possible with sustainable drives. Before each procurement, the existing market offer of alternative drive systems and the fulfilment of all technical parameters are first examined. In addition, a feasibility study is conducted, which also takes potential subsidies into consideration.

The use of alternative drive systems and the necessary infrastructure have already been examined and partly realised in the other areas of the group of companies. For electric/hybrid vehicles, the first twin charging point was installed at the Weißenfels composting plant last year and a hybrid vehicle was put into operation. At the Görschen site, the construction of five charging points and the procurement of another electric service vehicle is planned for this year. The charging points will also allow vehicles of employees and service providers to charge their vehicles and thus support sustainable mobility beyond the company’s own vehicle fleet. Several employees of AW SAS – AöR already own electric vehicles.

AW SAS – AöR, EG SAS and Bio Komp-SAS GmbH, as municipal environmental waste management companies of the Burgenland district, are thus actively assuming their responsibility for the switch to sustainable drive systems as part of the mobility transition.