|The fuel-cell hybrid Midibus|
Hydrogenics Corporation announced the successful deployment of its fuel-cell hybrid midibus, alongside the regular fleet of diesel-powered buses, at the Hannover Fair—the world’s largest annual industrial fair—in Hannover, Germany.
Over five days the bus clocked 405 kilometers (253.6 miles), consuming a total of 10.1 kg of hydrogen. Approximately 800 people rode the bus to travel between the event’s 13 buildings.
Hydrogenics’ Germany-based team designed, built and integrated the bus’s 10 kW HyPM fuel-cell hybrid powertrain utilizing a Tecnobus Gulliver all-electric midibus platform. In November 2005, the bus achieved TUV road certification. (Earlier post.)
The fuel cell and 72V alkaline battery system produces 25 kW of total power for the traction drive, which delivers 235 Nm of torque. The bus has a top speed of 33 km/h (20.5 mph). Two roof-mounted 2.9 kg tanks store a total of 5.8 kg of compressed hydrogen.
The primary benefit of the midibus’s hybrid design is its ability to travel approximately 200 km on one fill of hydrogen. This favorably compares to the 60 to 80 km that the same bus can operate on standard lead-acid batteries alone, an inadequate duration for most transit operations.
In addition, the fuel-cell power output requirement, determined by the average running load of the bus, is small enough that the complete hybrid system can be delivered much more cost-effectively than by using a fuel-cell power-train alone.
Hydrogenics is targeting the fuel-cell hybrid Midibus towards historical sites and city centers, as well as in industrial or municipal campus settings, such as fairs, exhibitions and airports, where stringent emissions regulations apply.
Hydrogenics’ midibus project gained financial support in 2005 from the State of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW), one of four jurisdictions participating in the European Union’s HyChain initiative announced in February of this year. (Earlier post.)
NRW subsequently recognized Hydrogenics as a member company of the initiative. With a total budget of €37.6 million (US$48 million) over five years partially funded by the Directorate-General Energy and Transport of the European Commission, the HYCHAIN-MINITRANS Project will allow people to test a variety of vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Included in this initiative is a commitment to provide up to €1.8 million (US$2.3 million) to Hydrogenics as qualified transit authorities adopt Hydrogenics’ fuel cell hybrid midibuses into their regular fleets.
The next shuttle assignment for the fuel cell hybrid midibus is scheduled to take place next month at State-hosted events related to the World Cup of Soccer in Germany.