Transport for London (TfL) has signed a £9.65 million (US$20 million) contract with ISE for five hydrogen fuel cell buses and five hydrogen internal combustion engine buses. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, announced that the ten new hydrogen-powered buses will join London’s bus fleet by 2010.
In February 2006, the Mayor announced the London Hydrogen Transport program, which aims to introduce 70 new hydrogen vehicles into London, 10 of which are to be buses. (Earlier post.) The contract with ISE is one of the world’s first commercial contracts for hydrogen buses. The vehicles will be operated by First on behalf of TfL.
Hydrogen is a fuel of the future as it improves air quality and does not produce the harmful emissions which are causing catastrophic climate change. London is now the first city in Europe to commit to a hydrogen bus fleet of this size, which will match traditional diesel buses in terms of performance. This represents a huge step forward from the previous hydrogen trials in the capital and is an important step towards my target of having five per cent of all public sector fleet vehicles powered by hydrogen by 2015.—Ken Livingstone
The contract covers not only the initial cost of the vehicles themselves but also the specialist maintenance and replacement parts over a five year period after delivery. The Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform has provided a grant of £2.6 million (US$5.4 million) towards TfL’s hydrogen bus program.
ISE will work with a number of sub-contractors, including The Wright Group, a bus manufacturer based in Northern Ireland, and Ballard. The new hydrogen buses incorporate hybrid technology to allow them s to match their diesel counterparts in terms of range and operating hours.
The well-to-wheel CO2 emissions for both types of bus will be calculated after delivery, when the volume of hydrogen required to power the buses in operation has been confirmed. Reductions in carbon dioxide emissions compared to a diesel bus are expected to be 50% for the fuel cell buses and 20% for the internal combustion engine buses.
The procurement process to secure a hydrogen refuelling supplier is underway and TfL expects to have chosen a supplier on board early in 2008.
|Components of the HHICE cradle. Click to enlarge.|
The current ISE Hydrogen Hybrid Internal Combustion Engine (HHICE) bus powertrain combines the Ford Triton 6.8-liter V10 hydrogen engine with a Siemens 145 kW motor/generator to power dual 170 kW drive motors with rated torque of 440 Nm (324 lb-ft) each and peak torque of 900 Nm (664 lb-ft). Fuel is 58 kg of hydrogen stored at 5,000 psi.
The ISE HHICE currently uses either a 200 kW Cobasys NiMH battery pack or a 200 kW ultracapacitor bank from Maxwell.
ISE is working with Ballard as part of a consortium to provide BC Transit with up to 20 fuel cell buses in a fleet that will roll onto British Columbia roads by the end of 2009. (Earlier post.) ISE has also worked with UTC Power fuel cell systems on several fuel-cell hybrid bus projects in the past. (Earlier post.)
The London fuel cell buses will be the first to incorporate a 75 kW version of the new HD6 module in a fuel cell hybrid transit bus. This lower cost, fuel-efficient module is offered with Ballard’s 5 year or 12,000 hour warranty and is tailored for inner-city transit operation, as will be the case in London.