Issue 45

Hydrogen on the horizon

Fasten your seatbelt as we explore how battery and hydrogen technologies are turbocharging the logistics field into a new era…

The UK logistics industry is a lifeline, quietly powering the journey of everything we use or own, from the latest fashion in your wardrobe to the packages that arrive at your door… even the device you’re reading this article from. Most of the trucks that criss-cross our roads today, delivering items like these, still run on diesel, a fuel which the majority of us know is bad for the planet. But change is in the air and our industry is on the brink of an environmental revolution, exploring cleaner ways to power trucks and other modes of transport to reduce carbon emissions. 

Think about it: cleaner transport means cleaner air and a much healthier planet. 

Innovation is already fuelling change, with trains running on vegetable oil, ships sailing on methanol, and the next generation of vehicles powered by batteries and hydrogen ready to take centre stage! 

As one of the UK’s largest transport companies, with over a thousand trucks and an extensive rail network, we’re at the forefront of this transformation, and last year announced our role as a key participant in the Zero Emission HGV and Infrastructure Demonstrator (ZEHID). 

The new vehicles will play a major role in our goal to help reduce emissions, and traffic from our roads.

ZEHID is basically a big science project with an even bigger budget! Funded by Innovate UK and the Department for Transport, this particular science experiment will see £200 million invested across four projects to roll out up to 370 zero emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and 57 refuelling and electric charging sites across the UK. 

Over the next five years, each project will see real-world trials take place for advanced battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies in HGVs. The insights gained will help shape the UK’s future freight infrastructure to be sustainable, with less impact on the environment.

Taking part in three out of the four projects, from 2025, we’ll be introducing 44 battery electric and four hydrogen fuel cell trucks to our fleet, in addition to 39 charging stations, capable of delivering up to 400kWh, installed across our 41 locations. The new vehicles will play a major role in our goal to move more goods by rail, with battery and hydrogen-powered trucks completing first and final-mile deliveries, not only reducing emissions but also, importantly, traffic from our roads!  

bp, in collaboration with IVECO Group, are leading one of the three projects we’re involved in as a participant of ZEHID, called the Zero Emission North (ZEN) Freight. Project ZEN Freight will see the development of up to seven multi energy mobility sites offering hydrogen refuelling or electric vehicle charging in the Midlands and the North of England, in addition to the deployment of up to 70 battery electric and 30 hydrogen fuel cell trucks.

At the start of this year, our Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Tom Williams, and IT & Marketing Director, James Andrews, were invited by IVECO Group to attend its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Ulm, Germany, alongside a number of other industry leaders involved in ZEN Freight. 

Whilst there, Tom and James were provided with an in-depth look at the heavy-duty battery electric vehicles (HD BEV) and heavy-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (HD FCEV) produced on site under the IVECO brand, set to reshape UK logistics. 

These vehicles come packed with an impressive range of features too! 


Range up to 500km
Charging time (80% charge) 90 minutes @ 350kW
Gross combined weight rating up to 44t
E-axle – continuous power output 480kWh/645hp
Total battery capacity (9 pack) 738kWh


Range up to 800km
20 minutes refuelling time
70kg H2 usable energy, storage pressure @ 700 bar
400kW continuous power – 1.800Nm torque
Payload up to 24,7t (@44t GCW) 

Understanding the technologies

Battery technology has evolved significantly over the years, now offering almost double the power of earlier versions! But battery-powered vehicles aren’t the one-size-fits-all answer, particularly for heavy-duty transport over long distances. Here, hydrogen steps in as a valuable alternative, offering resilience and the range crucial for these extended journeys.

Battery and hydrogen technologies are setting the stage for a major leap in how we manage logistics, moving us towards a more sustainable future.

In the simplest terms, hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity by merging hydrogen gas with oxygen… think of it as a silent and clean chemical reaction that powers the truck, leaving water as the only emission. These fuel cells are a stack of precisely engineered plates, working together to replace traditional combustion engines. Hydrogen promises a robust range for HGVs, vital for those long journeys across the country.

Despite the allure of hydrogen’s high energy and light weight, it does face challenges, particularly in development costs and refuelling infrastructure. But as battery prices fall and hydrogen tech matures, we’re witnessing a complementary relationship emerge between the two.

Battery and hydrogen technologies are setting the stage for a major leap in how we manage logistics, moving us towards a more sustainable future. For those of you who are considering a career in this field, a world of opportunity awaits. You’ll be at the forefront of an industry embracing new standards of sustainability, where your fresh ideas can lead to greener solutions and real-world change. This is the future of logistics – innovative, environmentally conscious, and driven by the next generation.

Asset 4

Maritime Transport Ltd

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