Things change fast when it comes to using green or renewable energy sources . Perhaps the most representative change today is that of electric cars. It is also worth mentioning the progress made in electric trucks, but in this field the changes are slower for now. The great dependence of the logistics sector on diesel trucks makes the switch to renewable fuels more complicated.
The good news is that there are innovations in the logistics sector that can change that dependency . Warehouses can help increase progress in terms of green energy.
Ideal buildings to generate solar energy
The warehouses are characterized by having large spaces when it comes to generating low-emission energy through solar panels. Warehouses can produce enough energy to meet their own operational needs and still have energy available that can be distributed for other uses. Without a solution to store that excess energy , most warehouses use no more than 10% or 20% of the energy they produce , mostly for lighting, heating, and air conditioning.
But logistics centers are not simple buildings with a large area available on their roofs. They are distribution centers with a continuous flow of vehicles, which reach places located at very different distances. Is it possible to use its strategic location to produce and distribute renewable energy and promote the transition towards the use of green energy? Distribution centers can become energy centers.
Batteries are not the only solution, hydrogen can be part of it too
To carry out this transformation, electric batteries cannot be the only solution . They are expensive to produce and use somewhat unusual components that are also difficult to recycle. Because of this, a promising solution could come from hydrogen.
Low-emission renewable energy produced by electrolysis of water can generate hydrogen. The electrolysis of water is based on using electricity to separate oxygen and hydrogen as gas. The resulting hydrogen gas can be stored under pressure in tank trucks, or compressed in gas tanks to be later distributed. Its cost is ten times less than that of storage technologies for batteries. In addition, hydrogen vehicles recharge faster than those that use batteries.
Using the power of hydrogen
There are already cases of the use of hydrogen in the logistics sector. An example of this are forklifts, which have been using hydrogen for more than 10 years. In addition, there are trucks powered by hydrogen, operating with a performance and range similar to diesel trucks.
Installing hydrogen stations in logistics distribution centers with key locations can be a solution . Warehouses can become not only hydrogen producers, but also refueling stations for trucks. Hydrogen can be used in small delivery vehicles, for short distances in cities that are close to the logistics center. Other public transport vehicles such as buses or taxis could also make use of this hydrogeneration, generating a local energy ecosystem.
This economic model and its benefits for the environment, not only positively affect logistics activities, but also encourages the creation of an ecosystem of local partners. For example, hydrogen can be used not only for own and internal use, but also for local partners such as waste collection companies, taxis or public transport companies.
The logistics sector is ready for a sustainable supply chain
Far from being in last position, logistics operators are anticipating the necessary changes and investigating how to transform the high emissions sector to one of zero emissions. Solutions such as the H2Hub project show the importance of decarbonizing the activities of the sector.
We can’t get very far alone, but in company we can change the world. By fostering partnerships with clients, start-ups and consumers, we can generate change. Together we can increase awareness towards a new consumption. We are going to create a supply chain committed to the environment and more social, from storage activities to final distribution.