The FresH2 project is testing a hydrogen fuel cell to power the refrigeration unit of a semi-trailer

Bosch’s French subsidiary has developed a hydrogen fuel cell to replace the diesel power supply traditionally used to power the refrigeration unit of semi-trailers. The system is currently being tested on a refrigeration unit produced by Carrier Transicold, a corporate member of the IIR. 

n July 2020, the FresH2 project presented by Bosch-France was selected by the "comité d’orientation pour la recherche automobile et mobilité”1 (CORAM) as part of the support plan for the automotive industry announced by the French President a few months earlier. This support plan followed the economic difficulties encountered by the sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  


The FresH2 solution was developed at the Rodez site, in France. It delivers the electrical energy necessary for the refrigerated transport units that equip semi-trailers for controlled atmosphere road transport. These are mainly used for the transport of perishable foodstuffs and medicines. FresH2 consists of a fuel cell powered by hydrogen tanks to which power electronics are added to convert the direct current supplied by the cell into the alternating current required by the refrigeration unit. Bosch-France’s ambition with this innovation is to produce in the Rodez plant a competitive turnkey solution that can be integrated into all types of refrigerated trailers, including existing trailers. 

The Rodez plant is usually dedicated to the manufacture of diesel engines and is currently going through a major economic crisis, with several hundred job cuts planned. FresH2 could ultimately help revive the plant's activity.  


The FresH2 project is now in the test phase. The battery has been installed on Carrier Transicold motorless refrigeration units, themselves mounted on semi-trailers manufactured by the French company Lamberet. The test is carried out in real conditions of use during the month of September by the  STEF Chambéry site teams as part of a food distribution tour. These tests will serve as a basis for evaluating the efficiency of the system, as well as the improvement levers for the future industrialised version. 


Carrier Transicold is an IIR corporate member.


1 Orientation committee for automotive and mobility research


Sources (in French):