Proton Power Systems has developed a hydrogen fuel cell street sweeper that it is now testing in Basle, Switzerland. The municipal street sweeping vehicle was developed in conjunction with the Swiss consortium, hy.muve.
The 20kw fuel cell provides the street sweeping vehicle with a top speed of 24 mph. The fuel cell vehicle can hold enough hydrogen at 5,000 psi before refueling 7 hours later. Refueling the vehicle takes less than 10 minutes.
The modification involved removal of the diesel engine and power train and replacing it with the fuel cell system and hybrid system based on lithium ion batteries. The hydraulic system was also replaced by electric drives.
Now, if one were prone to the pun, one might say that the Swiss are cleaning up with this project. But, there is a certain clean, green poetic justice in this project that must not be overlooked and that is the fact, that a vehicle charged with cleaning up the neighborhood is now, not polluting it as well.
This hydrogen fuel cell hybrid street sweeper with its zero emissions with replace a diesel belching counterpart that is charged with cleaning the city. Thank goodness the Swiss have put 2 and 2 together and created a clean, green machine that is supposed to help clean up the cities and streets without having a negative environmental impact.
Now, if we can just get other communities to see the sense in developing or retrofitting city street sweepers with zero emissions hydrogen power, it will be a cleaner and greener earth for all of us. Another good next step would be the conversion of garbage and waste recycling trucks as well to fuel cell power.
But, I guess these things will take a bit more time.