With about 9,400 employees and 24,500 students, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie – KIT) is one of Europe’s leading energy research establishments. Research, education, and innovation at KIT foster the energy turnaround and reorganization of the energy system in Germany. KIT links excellent competences in engineering and science with know-how in economics, the humanities, and social science as well as law. The activities of the KIT Energy Centre are organized in seven topics: Energy conversion, renewable energies, energy storage and distribution, efficient energy use, fusion technology, nuclear power and safety, and energy systems analysis. Clear priorities lie in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energies, energy storage technologies and grids, electric mobility, and enhanced international cooperation in research.
KIT has a long tradition of research on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. This is therefore a very suitable place to test fuel cell buses and hydrogen production. Aim of the demonstration project is to showcase the technology in daily service, including the operation of the hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. In addition, the market-readiness level of hydrogen technology is measured and benchmarked along with the opportunity to produce hydrogen from renewable sources and the potential to develop a regional hydrogen economy.
Two 12 m fuel cell buses (EvoBus) operate a shuttle service to connect the different campus sites. They started their regular operation in 2013.
A whole hydrogen infrastructure, including a hydrogen refuelling station, is built at KIT Campus North. Some 80 scientists from different disciplines are working on hydrogen production, hydrogen storage, safety aspects and hydrogen for different applications. Both delivered hydrogen (from conventional sources) and hydrogen produced on-site from biomass are used to refuel the buses. The station can deliver 80 kg hydrogen per day (the equivalent of 3 bus refuelling) and has a storage capacity of 420 kg hydrogen. See press release following the opening of the hydrogen refuelling station here.
The project received over €3.2 million funding support from the Ministry of Environment, Climate and energy economy of Baden-Wuerttemberg. In addition, the project is supported by representatives from research, training, automotive industry, gas industry, energy providers and local public transport authorities. The project is closely linked with the Clean Energy Partnership and is sponsored by Michelin and Atlas Copco.
A leaflet presenting the project is available here for download.
Picture © KIT