Uruguay unveils pilot plan to trial hydrogen-powered buses and trucks
Through the Verne project, the government will test five buses and five trucks that will run on hydrogen-based fuel to study the development of this technology in Uruguay, said National Energy Director Ruben García. Its deployment would improve the costs of national production and logistics and, in addition, will increase the country’s energy independence by reducing reliance on oil, he explained.
The pilot plan, which will be implemented next year, will include the use of green hydrogen production and refueling station in Montevideo and heavy duty vehicles. The initiative involves the participation of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works, Ancap (Uruguay’s state-owned petroleum company) and UTE (Uruguay’s state-owned power company), in coordination with the Ministries of Economy and Finance and of Environment.
García explained to the Secretariat of Institutional Communication that the production of fuel with native and renewable resources opens greater energy independence, reduces the use of foreign exchange, stabilizes costs against the volatility of the price of oil, reduces energy costs and increases competitiveness for a strategic sector of the economy such as transport.
The Verne project has received $ 500,000 from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Moreover, the Development Bank of Latin America-CAF provides non-reimbursable technical cooperation for measurement, reporting, verification and roadmap; of the same nature is the contribution of the IDB Group’s Innovation Laboratory (IDB-LAB). Ancap and UTE also contribute, García added.
Although Uruguay is notable for the change in the electricity matrix, with more than 98% renewable energy, 38% of the energy grid continues to be hydrocarbons. Of that 38%, 70% is consumed by the transportation system, García said.