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Supermarkets Carrefour and Colruyt join EU-backed hydrogen vehicles project

Several European retailers are taking part in a new EU-backed project which is evaluating the use of hydrogen vehicles to cut carbon emissions from logistics.

The H2Haul project has received €12 million in funding from the European Commission and will test the viability of hydrogen vehicles.

The tests will take place at 16 sites across Belgium, France, Germany, and Switzerland. Manufacturers INVECO FPT Industrial and VDL ETS will design, build, and test three new types of fuel cell electric heavy-duty trucks.

As well as industrial organisations, participants include supermarket chains Carrefour, Coop and Colruyt, which will test the trucks in their daily logistics operations.

Ben Madden, director of Element Energy, which is coordinating the project, said: “There is a growing need for zero emission vehicles across all transport modes, and fuel cell electric trucks offer the potential to make a significant contribution to decarbonising the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) sector when refuelled with renewable hydrogen.

“The H2Haul project is strategically important as it brings together several leading suppliers who will develop and test the vehicles and infrastructure required for hydrogen-fuelled HGVs to become a mainstream choice for logistics providers seeking to reduce the environmental impact of their operations.”

French retailer Galeries Lafayette announced in December that it is working with a start-up to use hydrogen in its last mile delivery vehicles. The collaboration with renewable provider Akuo Energy will see Galeries Lafayette and other companies using a fleet of 400 hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The network will initially consist of 33 refuelling stations in Paris and other major urban areas, before later being expanded across France. The project will benefit from a European Commission subsidy of €7 million, as it meets criteria for the body’s goal of reducing carbon emissions.