Logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL Group announced today that its DHL Express division is piloting the use of hydrogen-fueled trucks for long-haul transport, with Apple as the first customer to test the new solution.

The pilot forms part of the Interreg NW Europe program H2-Share, a European aiming to facilitate the development of hydrogen-powered low-carbon heavy-duty vehicles for logistic applications.

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Hydrogen is viewed as one of the key building blocks of the transition to a cleaner energy future, given its ability to act both as a clean energy carrier and fuel, as well as a CO2-neutral feedstock for the production of green chemicals. Significant investments in production, infrastructure, and deployment will be necessary, however, in order to foster broad use of hydrogen for use in areas such as industrial production and transport.

DHL noted that while technology such as battery-electric trucks can be used for last-mile delivery, fuels from renewable energies such as hydrogen will be essential in order to provide zero-emission line-haul solutions. The truck being tested under the pilot program covers a distance of around 200 km daily on a cross-border route between the Netherlands and Belgium, refueling daily.

The new hydrogen pilot program follows the launch earlier this year of DHL’s Sustainability Roadmap, which include a series of decarbonization and environmental sustainability commitments encompassing the introduction of more ambitious climate targets and linking executive compensation to ESG goals. DHL’s targets include a goal to have at least 30% of fuel requirements in aviation and line haul to be covered by sustainable fuels for long haul flights. Since launching the roadmap, DHL has announced several low carbon transport initiatives, including sustainable aviation fuel programs, ordering all-electric cargo planes, offering decarbonized ocean shipping and carbon neutral US domestic delivery options.

Alberto Nobis, CEO DHL Express Europe, said:

“In a globalized world, sustainable and clean fuels are essential for climate-neutral logistics. Not only for sea and air freight but also line-haul road freight, as these help reduce CO2 emissions. That’s why we engage not only in the electrification of our fleet but also invest in the development of alternative drive systems for very long ranges. The project shows that we can achieve truly emission-free logistics in Europe if we join forces and build on experience.”