Words by Smiley Team
With one of the most progressive climate strategies in the developed world, Sweden is well ahead of other countries when it comes to sustainability. In their shift away from fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives, hydrogen may play a key role with additional hydrogen buses joining their fleets this year.
Since 2020, the country has been switching its petrol buses for ones that run on hydrogen. The municipality of Trelleborg is the latest to adopt new vehicles that use this greener fuel in a push to reach zero emissions by 2045.
"For us locally, it is natural to take part in the transformation of the Swedish vehicle sector in order to reach the national goal of zero emissions by 2045. Our new hydrogen vehicles are a part of this venture," explained Stina Salomonsson, the head of Education Administration in Trelleborg Municipality.
A hydrogen school bus and waste truck are the first of 10 vehicles to join Trelleborg’s public transport network. Both will use hydrogen fuel cells and highly effective energy storing devices called supercapacitors to maximise energy efficiency.
“The first hydrogen bus and waste truck prove how we take concrete steps towards zero-emission transport in the region,” said Magnus Sahlin, the CEO of the local energy company providing the hydrogen, Trelleborg Energi. “With the first fueling station up and running in Trelleborg in January 2023, these initiatives are an amazing start in transforming the vehicle sector in this region."
Hydrogen is widely heralded as a more sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. This is because, unlike coal, oil and non-renewable gas, its use does not entail using up finite materials or emitting greenhouse gases.
To produce this cleaner fuel, manufacturers use electricity from renewable energy to electrolyse water, separating the hydrogen atom within it from its molecular twin oxygen. It can also be produced by fermenting biomass.
However, hydrogen is not without its own flaws and climate scientists have warned that increasing dependence on the new fuel could lead to other climate problems. With higher levels of water vapour in the atmosphere, chemical reactions are likely to take place that would limit the atmosphere’s ability to cleanse itself.
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