Last year l’ Arca del Maresme was awarded an environmental services contract with the Comarca del Maresme region of Catalonia. They bought two N2 Series GeesinkNorba hybrid drive refuse collection vehicles. After their first months of operation, WMW finds out how they’re performing.

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One of the technical and operational advantages of the hybrid units is that they are electrically operated and provide a noise free waste collection service when collecting waste in the middle of the night. The RCVs use a special industrial type lithium ion battery, which has been specially designed and manufactured for GeesinkNorba. Including the battery pack, electric motor and electric pump, the hybrid drive system weighs only app. 500 kg, so it does not have much effect on payload of waste and recycling that the N2s can legally carry.

The chassis recharges the power battery when the vehicle is moving from one collection point to another. The power pack also needs charging from an electrical connection at the workshop once a week to make sure that the lithium ion batteries are stabilised.

In service the batteries do not fall below the 60-70% level. If the batteries did fall to around 25% because of a technical or diagnostic issue the power unit would automatically disconnect and the hydraulics for operating the packing mechanism and bin lifting equipment would be provided through the chassis power take off using the GeesinkNorba fuel efficient SmartPack system.

In conclusion, the Argentona municipality, in conjunction with l’ Arca del Maresme are using the new hybrid collection vehicles to provide an efficient waste management system for residents while successfully reducing noise and air pollution.

Author is Timothy Byrne, MCIWM chartered waste manager, ISWA international waste manager and associate member Ategrus.