Fuel Cell Electric Buses have been succesfully trialled for over a decade. The hybridised drive trains (battery and fuel cell) used in current fuel cell electric bus technology have achieved tremendous developments over the first fuel cell bus generation.
The technology that is being demonstrated today has little in common with the first fuel cell electric bus generation developed early 2000’s. There has been major improvements in efficiency, range, refuelling speeds and availability of refuelling stations since then, mainly thanks to the hybridised powertrains (battery and fuel cell), proving that the technology has reached another step closer to its commercialisation.
At this stage the fuel cell sus sector bridges the gap between fuel cell electric bus demonstration and broader commercialization.
- Fuel cell electric buses are hybrid electric buses usingfuel cells and batteries to power the electric motor(s).
- The fuel cell uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity by an electro-chemical process producing only heat and water as a by-product (no harmful emissions). The heat can be used again to warm the passenger compartment, such that as little energy as possible is lost in the process.
- The hydrogen is safely stored on-board in gaseous storage tanks on the roof.
- The energy storage devices (such as a battery or ultra-capacitor) are included to improve performance and fuel efficiency.
- The bus structure and other non-electric components are the same as the ones of conventional buses.
- Hydrogen offers much higher energy density compared to electrical storage systems (e.g. batteries, super-capacitors), this leads to a substantial driving range for the buses (more than sufficient for a day’s operation). FCEB’s can be operated up to 16 hours a day, in all climate conditions.
- In the fuel cell hybrid bus, the fuel cell produces directly the electric power for the electric motor and/or to recharge the batteries. In addition, both types allow, through a process called regenerative braking, to recover energy lost due to braking to be utilized to charge the battery. Also called brake energy recuperation.
The High V.LO-City project aims at accelerating the integration of a new generation of FCH buses (14 FC buses will be operating in Scotland (UK), Liguria (IT) and Flanders (BE)) in public transport fleets by demonstrating the technical and
HyTransit funds 6 hydrogen buses in the citie of Aberdeen. The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is made up of two separate European funded projects, High Vlo City, which funds 4 buses and HyTransit which funds 6 buses, both of which are supported by the Fuel Cells
The CHIC project is demonstrating the readiness of fuel cell electric buses for widespread commercial deployment in 8 European Countries/9cities (Argau, Bozen Milan, Olso, London, Milan, Hamburg, Cologne, Whistler)