The UK’s first custom-built, hydrogen-fuelled waste collection vehicle has arrived in St Helens Borough, ahead of its integration into the council’s fleet.
This pioneering investment by St Helens Borough Council forms part of its wider fleet and operational modernisation, and its commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Ahead of its first collection rounds in the coming weeks, the vehicle’s appearance in St Helens today (Tuesday 20 September) saw international partners and local stakeholders come together for a presentation at St Helens Town Hall about its merits and a demonstration of its green technology.
Among the guests were Council Leader David Baines, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport Andy Bowden, and Climate Change Champion Cllr Mancyia Uddin.
The FAUN Zoeller Bluepower is a hydrogen-electric hybrid vehicle that uses an electric motor for drive and a hydrogen fuel cell to charge the battery while the vehicle is operating, meaning zero carbon emissions while in operation.
The vehicle is also dramatically quieter than traditional diesel vehicles and has been successfully piloted in Germany over the past two years. The council is hoping to invest in additional Bluepower vehicles in the future.
FAUN Zoeller UK have developed the vehicle with Daimler AG based in Stuttgart, St Helens Borough’s historic twin town in Germany.
Aside from the elimination of emissions that the vehicle will emit , the partnership with FAUN Zoeller – alongside the council’s investment in electric as part of its wider fleet modernisation – will unlock development opportunities in green skills for staff with dedicated on-site support and training provided.
The vehicle could also be the subject of educational programmes in the community and with local schools and colleges, giving young people the chance to learn about hydrogen technology and the role it will likely play in powering the economy for years to come.
And it boosts the case for further investment in electric and hydrogen transport infrastructure in the borough and the wider Liverpool City Region.
The presentation event also saw the announcement of a naming competition for the vehicle, to be run in local primary schools.
Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Our aspiration is to be at the forefront of a green revolution taking place in the region – investing in renewables, diversifying the green skills of our workforce, future-proofing our services, hosting cutting-edge decarbonisation projects in industry and fostering climate action locally at grassroots.
“Supported by investment in electrics and the most efficient diesel vehicles, we have confidence that our decarbonisation plans can be introduced in a managed way that doesn’t compromise service delivery to our residents.
“This vehicle represents our faith in the renewables sector as both a service provider and employer, and our commitment to net-zero emissions by 2040, and I’m delighted to see it arrive in the borough.”
Council Leader David Baines said: “This demonstrates our commitment to reaching net zero by 2040, and we can be proud to be leading the way.
As a council we declared a climate emergency in 2019, and since then – led by Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport Cllr Andy Bowden and the Council’s first Climate Change Champion Cllr Mancyia Uddin – we’ve taken action including setting up a cross-party multi-agency Climate Commission and one of the country’s first Youth Climate Commissions; supporting the creation of the world-leading research facility Glass Futures; backing hydrogen power trials at Pilks; investing in sustainable transport; and supporting local small businesses and groups with more than £100,000 funding for green projects.
Regionally, we’re working to deliver huge projects such as HyNet and Mersey Tidal, and we’ve ordered a fleet of hydrogen-powered buses to operate on the 10/10a route.
Our new hydrogen-powered waste collection vehicle is a major milestone. Replacing the council’s entire vehicle fleet will take time and government financial support, but as we have so many times in the past St Helens is once again showing how to get things done.”
Find out more about our Labour council’s action to tackle climate change: https://www.sthelenslabour.org/climatechange/