Editorial Feature

The Transition to Zero-Emission Transportation with Hydrogen and Electric Solutions

A new partnership has been announced which promises to introduce next-generation battery technologies to hydrogen-powered transport technology for zero-emission transportation.

hydrogen transport

Image Credit: petrmalinak/Shutterstock.com

The France-based international transport and logistics firm, Gaussin, has announced its chosen provider of state-of-the-art battery power for its flagship truck body project.

Gaussin will work with Microvast, headquartered in Houston, USA, to provide batteries for its zero-emission transportation solutions for logistics. Microvast is well known for leading battery cell technology and a range of available battery chemistries.

Gaussin is a fast-growing firm in four expanding zero-emission transportation markets: port terminals, airports, logistics, and human mobility.

The new partnership will see Microvast producing modular battery cells both for Gaussin’s lithium-ion and hydrogen fuel battery truck bed options.

“Skateboards”: Zero-Emission Transportation for Logistics and Freight

The truck beds will be fully integrated with batteries, motors, and chassis designed in piece. Gaussin refers to these integrated truck beds as “skateboards”.

This latest addition to zero-emission transportation technologies can be applied in multiple settings in the logistics and transportation fields. Gaussin’s existing presence in port terminals and airports will enable the company to scale the adoption of zero-emission transportation vehicles in several sites.

The integrated truck beds carry everything the vehicle needs to operate. Fuel cells, batteries, motors, chassis, and wheels are all included in Gaussin’s integrated design. All these components are also engineered to be as lightweight and efficient as possible, maximizing range and usefulness.

The truck bed platforms are available in different lengths, heights, and axle configurations, and can be used for various transport and logistics functions.

The mechanical interface is affixed to the truck bed’s chassis, enabling full compatibility with all standard transport industry equipment and configurations. The universal link plate ensures this zero-emission transport solution can be widely deployed right now.

The integrated truck bed is around 400 kg lighter than traditional truck chassis on the market today, due largely to advanced engineering combined with a rigorously efficient approach to design.

The hydrogen-powered transport truck bed has an 800-km range, while the version using lithium-ion batteries reaches 400 km in range. The hydrogen fuel cell version offers 480 kW in battery power, while the lithium-ion version is capable of 140 kW battery power.

Both versions can reach top speeds of 90 km per hour and can pull gross combined weight (GCW) – the combined weight of the cab, fuel, chassis, container, and load in a truck – up to 60,000 kg.

GAUSSIN presents the world's first 100% hydrogen or all-electric "skateboard"

Video Credit: GAUSSINfrance/YouTube.com

Next-Generation Battery Technologies

Gaussin selected Microvast to supply batteries for its “skateboard” integrated truck beds due to Microvast’s strong reputation and ability to produce modular battery cells with different chemistries.

Microvast offers NMC-1/NMC-2 batteries for higher energy density applications that still require good lifetime and consistent performance. LTO batteries are offered for safe, high-power operations and ultra-fast charging requirements. Microvast also manufactures LFP batteries for customers prioritizing safety and low cost.

The high level of modularity available with Microvast’s battery systems also appealed to Gaussin designers. It enables greater flexibility in vehicle design, which in turn leads to fewer engineering compromises on aerodynamics, strength, durability, and weight.

The Microvast batteries selected by Gaussin have the fast-charging abilities, high energy density, and reliable safety measures required for its zero-emission transportation project.

This is partially enabled by Microvast’s proprietary aramid separator technology. Aramid is an extremely stable lithium-ion battery separator material, also used in bullet-proof vests. Using it in battery cells results in cells that can charge and discharge large amounts of energy quickly, without creating unacceptable safety risks.

Microvast also utilizes a high-end, designer gradient cathode in its battery cells. This increases thermal stability in the battery, enabling faster and higher-volume charging and discharging of energy.

Next Steps for Zero-Emission Transportation

The partnership agreement between Gaussin and Microvast is a long-term contract that will see Microvast supplying over 1.5 GWh of battery power in the next five years and increasing to up to 29 GWh by 2031.

The first prototypes for the fully electric and hydrogen fuel versions of the Gaussin integrated truck bed will be in production in 2021. Performance tests can then be carried out, and further iterations to the concept design should be expected.

At first, Microvast will supply Gaussin with its standard MV-C battery pack. In the future, Gaussin will have the option to upgrade to Microvast’s custom MV-I battery system. These batteries have an energy density of at least 180 Wh/kg, among the best in their class.

Initial prototypes will be presented to the significant fleet and e-commerce companies in the United States and Europe.

References and Further Reading

Gaussin [Online] Available at: https://www.gaussin.com/

Microvast [Online] Available at: https://www.microvast.com/

Business Wire (2021) Microvast and Gaussin Partner to Accelerate the Transition to Zero-Emission Transportation. Business Wire. [Online] https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210608006064/en/Microvast-and-Gaussin-Partner-to-Accelerate-the-Transition-to-Zero-Emission-Transportation.

Zhang, Jianjun, et al. (2013) A Highly Safe and Inflame Retarding Aramid Lithium Ion Battery Separator by a Papermaking Process. Solid State Ionics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssi.2013.05.016.

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Ben Pilkington

Written by

Ben Pilkington

Ben Pilkington is a freelance writer who is interested in society and technology. He enjoys learning how the latest scientific developments can affect us and imagining what will be possible in the future. Since completing graduate studies at Oxford University in 2016, Ben has reported on developments in computer software, the UK technology industry, digital rights and privacy, industrial automation, IoT, AI, additive manufacturing, sustainability, and clean technology.

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