The German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) awarded financing for the collaboration research project HyCET (Hydrogen Combustion Engine Trucks) led by the BMW Group in September 2022. The other HyCET project partners are DEUTZ AG, DHL Freight GmbH, KEYOU GmbH, TotalEnergies Marketing Deutschland GmbH, and Volvo Group.

The research project intends to establish the long-term viability of vehicles equipped with hydrogen combustion engines for transportation logistics. Along with technical development, another issue HyCET looks to challenge is requisite infrastructure, such as publicly accessible hydrogen filling stations. Hydrogen is seen as a potential fuel for transport logistics due to its faster filling times, high payload, and adaptability, as well as its appealing range.


Hycet research project

The goal is to create two 18-tonne trucks and two 40-tonne trucks powered by hydrogen combustion engines, which will be tested in routine BMW Group and DEUTZ transport logistics. In addition, to support the everyday operation of these trucks, two new hydrogen filling stations, including one for heavy utility vehicles, will be created in Leipzig and Nuremberg.

The HyCET research project will cost €19.5 million, €11.3 million of which will be supported by the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV). The BMDV also granted an extra €5.7 million in funding for the building of two public hydrogen filling stations, mostly for heavy goods traffic, as part of the HyCET project.

Green hydrogen generated from renewable sources will enable CO2-free long-distance operations in the future.The trucks are also catergorised as zero-emission vehicles due to the lack of tailpipe emissions produced from hydrogen combustions.

“Hydrogen technology offers us the chance to rethink mobility. In particular, the varied demands of transport logistics call for suitable responses. Hydrogen is a good energy-storage solution for climate-friendly transportation that can supplement battery-electric mobility. The HyCET project supported by us assesses the use of hydrogen combustion engine technology for the transport of heavy goods. In this way, the results obtained from real-life operation will contribute to competition between alternative drive train technologies in the field of logistics.” said Daniela Kluckert, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Digital and Transport.

 “As the consortium leader for the project, the BMW Group is not only showing its pioneering spirit, but also its understanding of how to think about sustainability across all areas of the company. This includes testing technologies in transport logistics at an early stage and adapting products and infrastructure to new requirements.” explained  Michael Nikolaides, Senior Vice President Production Network and Supply Chain Management BMW Group.