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Werner signs for 500 Cummins hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines

Dedicated truckload carrier likes fuel cells, but hydrogen ICE might arrive first

Werner Enterprises is spreading its hydrogen bets beyond fuel cells, signing a letter of intent for 500 hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines from Cummins Inc., which is pushing its powertrain-agnostic approach to reducing emissions. 

It is the third significant sales announcement in two weeks for the Columbus, Indiana-based engine maker. Cummins targets 2027 for production of the X15H.

Truck and trailer equipment lease and remarketing provider Transport Enterprise Leasing said Aug. 31 that it plans to integrate the X15H into its heavy-duty truck fleet. Cummins and Buhler Industries Inc., which  manufacturers Versatile-branded tractors, signed a letter of intent and plans to integrate the Cummins 15-liter hydrogen engines in its agriculture equipment.  

The company will offer a natural gas-powered version of the X15 in 2024. Cummins and Werner announced earlier this year that Werner plans to validate and integrate both engines.

“The future will include many solutions to help customers decarbonize. And we believe hydrogen internal combustion engines will play an important role,” said Brett Merritt, Cummins’ vice president on-highway engine business, said in a news release. Cummins is targeting net-zero emissions from its products by 2050.

Hydrogen part of Werner’s greenhouse gas reduction targets

Werner is committed to a 55% reduction in smog-forming greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

“Our customers are showing increased interest in more sustainable choices in the marketplace. And we see significant potential in utilizing Cummins’ fuel-agnostic platform to continue the momentum toward reducing our carbon footprint,” said Derek Leathers, Werner’s chairman, president and CEO.

Hydrogen engines offer the benefit of using familiar mechanical drivelines with vehicle and equipment integration. Cummins reuses many parts and components from platforms.. That helps save money by driving scale with reliability and durability on par with diesel. 

Zero-carbon green hydrogen fuel, produced by Cummins-manufactured electrolyzers, provides more business for the company whether used in ICE or fuel cell powertrains.

Cummins announced in November 2020 that it is using grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a Class 8 fuel cell truck with longtime customer Navistar International that Werner will test.

Werner broadens base as test bed for new trucking powertrain technologies

Cummins, Navistar developing fuel cell truck for Werner testing

Hydrogen on the highway: Cummins, Air Products plan fleet conversion

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes Werner Enterprises (No. 10).

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is a Detroit-based award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press and most recently as Detroit Bureau Chief for Trucks.com. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.