On May 06 Harry K. Voigtsberger, Minister of Economy and Traffic in NRW,and Werner Stump, head of the Rhein-Erft district authority, jointly with RVK manager Eugen Puderbachand Günter Rosenke from the RVK supervisory board presented the first fuel cell-driven hybrid-electric buses in Hürth near Cologne. The buses are the first of their kind in the regular public transport network of North Rhine-Westphalia and will serve the Rhein-Erft district and the inner-city traffic of Hürth and Brühl.
A crucial step toward an emission-free traffic future
RVK manager Eugen Puderbach underlines that “the fuel cell-driven hybrid-electric buses are an excellent innovation for public transport and a trendsetting milestone for the RVK environmental protection concept of “Zero emission”. This new drive-train technology enables us to fulfill the requirements of our traffic future project already today.
“Baseline: hydrogen – the energy carrier of the public transport future
In the Hürth industrial district Chemiepark Knapsack hydrogen is produced as a by-product. To make beneficial use of this hydrogen is the second main motivation of the „HyCologne – Wasserstoff RegionRheinland e. V.“ initiative to actively support the bus project, beside the need for an emission-free mobility.
In May 2010, the first hydrogen filling station was inaugurated in Hürth. The first of a kind, this hydrogen fuelling station has been designed by Air Products using a modular system, which allows for easy expansion or relocation and already provides the necessary components for a later add of 700 bar car fuelling. It moves away from unique, custom-made installations to more generic fuelling stations. The station has been designed to fuel the two Council-owned hydrogen hybrid-buses at 350 bar initially, with the fleet expanding in the longer term, plus it will be available to the general public for fuelling of their own hydrogen vehicles at 700 bar. The station is owned by the municipal services of Hürth and is operated and maintained by Air Products. The new station is an important link in the chain of hydrogen supply facilities forming the „hydrogen pipeline“ in NRW and the Benelux states.
The new fuel cell-based hybrid-electric busses are of the „Phileas“ type and have been built by the Dutch manufacturer Advanced Public Transport Systems (APTS), a subsidiary of the VDL group, and have a lot of German know-how integrated. So, Vossloh Kiepe GmbH from Düsseldorf supplies the serial hybrid technology and the battery offering a storage capacity of 26 KWh is from Hoppecke Batterien GmbH & Co. KG in Brilon (NRW). The fuel cell itself comes from Ballard Power Systems Inc., Canada.
All in all, four busses have been built as prototypes, two of which are operated by RVK, theother two by the Amsterdam public transport company GVB.
The vehicles with their overall length of 18 metres are the longest fuelcell-driven articulated busses inthe world. The fuel cell system supplies electric power equivalent to 150 KW. The buses are equippedwith an innovative hybrid traction system delivered by Vossloh Kiepe. The adaptive energy managementsystem controls the energy flows between the load-causing consumers and the dual energy storagesystem. The latter is a combination of double-layer capacitors and a battery.
Optimized international cooperation and knowledge transfer
HyCologne presents the hydrogen bus project in international initiatives such as the “Hydrogen Bus Alliance” and the CHIC project . As buses like these have strong potential to play an important role in a sustainable public transport concept, metropolitan agglomerations, cities, initiatives and profit-oriented organizations are committing themselves to work in joint commissions, boards and committees. An open and multi-directional exchange of information is the basic approach to reach the common aim of commercialization of this technology.