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Thu February 29 2024

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Dutch firm pioneers diesel-to-hydrogen conversion

3 Jan 23 Terberg Techniek, a Dutch specialist in vehicle modifications, has converted a pair of Liebherr excavators from diesel power to hydrogen-electric.

The two Liebherr diggers have been testing for six months on-site
The two Liebherr diggers have been testing for six months on-site

The two Liebherr 916 wheeled excavators belonging to contractor Jos Scholman are now powered by hydrogen fuel cells manufactured by Zepp Solutions based in Delft.

Over six months of operational testing, the excavators have proven to be reliable and performing well. The Zepp Y50 fuel cell and hydrogen storage system offers an environmentally friendly alternative to diesel, producing no emissions other than water.

Terberg Techniek used the Zepp hydrogen system to develop a conversion kit which it now hopes to use to convert other construction equipment from diesel to a hydrogen-electric powertrain.

Hydrogen is gaining popularity in the construction equipment industry due to increasingly restrictive regulations on local emissions, such as CO2, noise, particulate matter, and especially nitrous oxide (NOx).

Using zero-emission machinery allows contractors to bid on projects in urban or environmentally sensitive areas that may have previously been out of reach with traditional equipment, says Zepp Solutions.

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Zepp also claims that hydrogen fuel cells allow for longer periods of operation and fewer interruptions for refuelling or recharging compared to battery-powered alternatives.

Zepp' Y50 fuel cells have already been adopted in the materials-handling and maritime sectors. A recent example is the Water-taxi in Rotterdam which started operating in May 2022. The Liebherr conversion project by Terberg Techniek marks the first application of Zepp's fuel cell systems in the construction equipment sector.

Kevin Schreiber, co-founder of Zepp Solutions, said: "We are thrilled to see our fuel cell systems being used in the conversion of these Liebherr excavators, and to play a role in helping the construction equipment sector reduce its carbon emissions.

“At Zepp Solutions we are committed to providing innovative, reliable, and cost-effective fuel cell technology to a wide range of industries, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Terberg Techniek on future projects."

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