Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has opened the Volvo Group’s first dedicated fuel cell test lab at its technical centre in Eskilstuna, Sweden. The aim is to develop hydrogen solutions for heavy construction equipment and other applications.
The Volvo Group is the commercial vehicle group with trucks, buses, construction machinery and marine division, not Volvo Cars, which belongs to Geely. However, Geely also holds a minority stake in the Volvo Group.
According to the construction equipment division, the test lab offers Volvo Group the opportunity to test and develop solutions for hydrogen fuel cell technology in heavy construction equipment and other applications. This is a “significant development” in the manufacturer’s ambition to be fossil-free by 2040, it said. To achieve this, the Swedish company relies on electromobility – with batteries for smaller machines and fuel cells for larger ones.
“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,” says Toni Hagelberg, Head of Sustainable Power at Volvo CE. “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.”
As Hagelberg points out, the hydrogen will be tracked throughout the value chain to ensure that the hydrogen is clean. Therefore, the Fuel Cell Test Lab will research fossil-free construction machinery and proprietary solutions to produce green hydrogen from renewable energy sources.
The fuel cells themselves, which Volvo CE wants to integrate into construction machines in the lab on a test basis, will come from Cellcentric. The Volvo Group founded the joint venture together with Daimler Trucks. The partners want to cooperate on the fuel cell, but the vehicles and their drives will continue to be developed separately. As Volvo Group CEO Martin Lundstedt stated at the strategy presentation for Cellcentric at the end of April, the location decision for large-scale production (planned from 2025) will be made next year.