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Hybrid fuel rescue truck prototype testing successfully concluded

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In a significant development, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has recently concluded a series of comprehensive tests and demonstrations on a prototype hybrid fuel rescue truck. The news comes from an official announcement available on their website.

New strides in emergency response

This prototype rescue truck, known as the H2@Rescue Emergency Relief Truck, is a first-of-its kind hybrid vehicle that employs both hydrogen fuel cell and battery technology. The hybrid vehicle is capable of providing on-site power at disaster recovery locations for up to 72 hours without needing to be refuelled.

Innovative features to enhance disaster response

The rescue truck can also operate as a self-propelled electric generator, with a considerable range of 180 miles and an ability to generate up to 25 kilowatts of power. This is sufficient to power approximately 20 average US homes. Furthermore, the rescue truck is capable of operating at full capacity whilst producing minimal noise, exhaust, or emissions.

The innovative hybrid vehicle was funded and designed by a collaboration that included the Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Accelera by Cummins Inc.

“The H2@Rescue vehicle represents a significant leap forward in emergency response capabilities,” said Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov, DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “The hydrogen-powered technology ensures first responders can reach affected areas swiftly and provide critical assistance in times of crisis.”

Environmental resilience and operational flexibility

The vehicle’s hydrogen fuel cell offers first responders a practical alternative fuel while operating almost silently and without producing harmful exhaust. Hydrogen fuel cells present a potential for being a stable and easily transportable energy storage medium for use in disaster response operations. They are energy efficient, utilising 80% of the created energy, and environmentally friendly, producing only water and heat as byproducts.

Ron Langhelm, S&T Mission & Capability Support programme manager, shared: “Imagine a hydrogen-powered temporary shelter operating fully without noise, exhaust, or emissions. In addition, the potential exists to capture both heat and water to further support the operation. The innovative hydrogen-powered system not only offers climate resilience advantages but also provides first responders with increased operational flexibility, extended range and rapid charging capabilities.”

Future development of the rescue truck

Following the conclusion of this project, Accelera by Cummins will assume ownership of the vehicle. This allows for the potential for further research and development to enhance the capabilities of the hybrid rescue truck.

IFSJ Comment

The successful completion of testing for this hybrid rescue truck demonstrates innovative advancements in emergency response technology. This could vastly improve our ability to provide effective disaster recovery services, enhancing both the efficiency and environmental friendliness of emergency response operations.

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