In an Australian first, a hydrogen-powered garbage truck will begin picking up bins in the Illawarra from today.
The truck, which emits no more than water vapour, has been trialled for the past few months, and can operate at the same level at its diesel-fuelled counterparts, Remondis NSW south coast region manager Chris Wade said.
"The ultimate aim is to have the hydrogen truck matching our current diesel trucks in all facets," he said.
"That includes completing about 1,000 bin lifts over about eight hours."
The hydrogen garbage truck follows the opening of Port Kembla's hydrogen refuelling station in July, which was essential for the garbage truck to operate in the region.
The truck, developed in Australia and built by vehicle manufacturer Hyzon, can travel 200 kilometres without refuelling, and would only need to refuel once a day, putting it on par with diesel trucks.
So far, only one hydrogen truck will operate in the Illawarra, however based on how the truck performs Remondis hopes to introduce further zero-emissions vehicles to its fleet.
The truck was paid for by Remondis with no government subsidy, however a final cost is commercial in confidence.
Remondis Australia CEO Bjorn Becker said other jurisdictinos around the country and the globe would be looking at how the Illawarra trial progressed.
We're demonstrating that carbon-free transport can and does work in industrial settings," he said.
"We're hopeful that this is the start of a bigger journey whereby companies around the world follow Remondis' lead and turn to fleet decarbonisation."
Only a handful of councils around the world have implemented zero emissions garbage trucks. Trials have been conducted in Europe, Korea and the United States with hydrogen-powered garbage trucks, while electric-powered vehicles are in operation around Australia.
Not only do the trucks produce no emissions, they are much quieter than diesel trucks.
The hydrogen supplied to the Remondis fleet in the Illawarra will be 'grey hydrogen', being produced from natural gas, with greenhouse gases emitted in the production process.
Running the hydrogen truck through the Illawarra will avoid 25,000 litres of diesel fuel being used each year, cutting carbon emissions by up to 75 tonnes a year.
Transport emissions account for 19 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and have been growing, even as emissions from other sectors have reduced.
Both Wollongong and Shellharbour City councils have set a 2050 target for net zero across the LGA and 2030 and 2035 for net zero from council operations, respectively.
"This is a really exciting development and is a proactive step forward in adapting to new technologies that can help reduce our city's emissions," Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.
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