Posted: Fri 7th Feb 2020

Updated: Wed 26th Feb

Hydrogen powered fleet mooted for waste disposal

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Friday, Feb 7th, 2020

The future of Gwynedd’s recycling and waste disposal fleet could be Hydrogen powered, councillors have been told.
The authority has seen its carbon emissions slashed from 3,435 tonnes of CO2 in 2014/15  to just 1,208 tonnes in 2018/19 – thanks in part to a major project to replace its street lights with more energy efficient LED lights.
But keen to continue reducing its carbon footprint, officers have been looking to the future when it comes to replacing its fleet of waste disposal lorries.
But with Gwynedd’s terrain in mind – which contains much of Eryri (Snowdonia) –  hydrogen rather than electric powered vehicles could be the way forward.
Hydrogen fuel cells combine compressed hydrogen with oxygen to generate an electric current, which in turn drives a vehicle’s electric motor. 
In response to a question from Cllr Mike Stevens during Thursday’s Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting in Caernarfon, officers confirmed that such technology was currently being looked into.
“As a department we support green technology and certainly electric vehicles when it comes to smaller fleets,” said Steffan Jones, the head of Highways and Municipal.
“It becomes a bit harder when you’re looking at waste and recycling collection though but we are aware that hydrogen powered fleets are currently being trialled in Scotland and we are keeping an eye on this.
“We have put a bid in for grant funding and waiting to see if we have been successful, our intention was to recognise what kind of vehicles we’d need.
“Considering the geography of Gwynedd, its very different to somewhere like Edinburgh as we cover quite an area and high terrain but obviously we need to move forward.”
Cllr Catrin Wager added, “We were at an event recently where an event had hudrogen and electric vehicles and the electric powered truck could make 10 miles a day.
“Obviously 10 miles a day wouldn’t be much use to us, so we need to look at hydrogen options as they can offer something that electric vehicles can’t at this stage.”
Meanwhile, members were generally supportive of measures brought in to change the shift pattern of the county’s refuse and recycling crews which were introduced in Dwyfor last year.
Having also commissioned new vehicles, councillors from the area praised a reduction in loose items flying out of the lorries and littering streets since the new working pattern was introduced, with the authority also noting a reduction in the number of missed collections.
This is despite some “teething problems” in Arfon, which was blamed on poor weather over the Christmas and a sharp increase in the amount of waste and recycleable material over the period.
The report concluded, “Since the 4th of July, 2019 the service has put in place a new collection regime.”We have done away with the ‘Task and Finish’ regime and also the shift pattern.
“The crews now stay on the same round ensuring ownership of the work.
“This new system has been implemented in the Arfon and Dwyfor area and we will complete the work in the Meirionnydd area early May.”

By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter

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