Monday, 25 April 2016

World’s first Acid Bus and short NRM update

VDL are to build the world’s first bus to run on Formic Acid.

From Route One

A 12m VDL Citea Electric will become the world’s first formic acid-powered bus during 2016. It is the result of a collaboration between VDL Bus & Coach and Team FAST.

In nature, wood ants deter predators by squirting formic acid as a defence. It is also found in stinging nettles. Commercially it is used as a preservative, in leather production and cleaning products.

Team FAST, a group of 25 students from Eindhoven University of Technology, presented a model car that runs on formic acid in January.

“We have liquefied electricity,” says Tim van Lohuizen of Team FAST. “And we look forward to the challenge of further developing our system for use in buses with VDL.”

“We are constantly looking for new technologies that make it easier to extend the range of zero emission transportation.

“The conversion of formic acid to hydrogen is one of these promising new technologies,” says Menno Kleingeld, MD of VDL Enabling Transport Solutions (VDL ETS).

Eindhoven’s researchers have discovered a way to quickly and efficiently transform hydrogen into liquid formic acid and back again into hydrogen.

Formic acid as liquid energy carrier can be stored and transported much more easily.

Existing filling stations could be used for the energy supply, because a bus that runs on formic acid does not need to be recharged but rather fills up with formic acid, like filling a tank with diesel.

This means no emission of harmful gases and a much greater range than what is currently common for vehicles with alternative powertrains.

The modular construction of the Citea range makes it possible to choose from various electric drive systems, battery packs and charging systems

This modular design also allows the adaptations for driving on formic acid, without consequences for accessibility, interior layout or comfort.

Team FAST is engaged in the development of technology that can use formic acid as a renewable, liquid, innovative energy carrier.

It's encouraging to see how manufacturer's and organisations are coming up with new technology to power buses instead of using diesel which leads to pollution.

Updates from LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society) on the short New Routemaster.

The short NBfL/New Routemaster duly arrived with Metroline last week.   This is the same bus that was ‘LT806’ last December, then ‘ST2001’ but has now been re-christened ‘ST812’. It should appear in due course on route 91 and must not be confused with the ‘Wrightbus SRM’ which is a new model on Volvo B5LH chassis.  Last Monday the Red Arrow commemoration duly occurred with MEC50 and MBA444 doing runs over current route 507 and original route 500.

Also, the conversion to 3 door, 2 staircase New Routemaster buses on route 91 is expected to be completed with the new buses entering service by April 2016, according to London Bus Routes service changes page.

With the Volvo B5LH SRM (Son of Routemaster), they are expected to enter service by September 2016 on route 13. These two door (New) Routemasters are bought by private operating companies, as opposed to TFL buying the 3 door 2 staircase New Routemasters.

This was just a quick news update for the new week.

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  1. I shared this information around and in response someone who knows more about these things than me has sent me the following email.


    I have a slight problem with this Simon in that formic acid contains carbon and therefore if you convert formic acid to hydrogen for fuel you inevitably end up with some form of carbon to dispose of, even if it is CO2. You could maybe eliminate the toxic particle emissions produced by diesel fuel combustion but at some point, you are going to have to release the carbon so it could be air pollution friendlier but not carbon emission friendly. If CO is produced in any quantity along with the CO2 then you will be producing the same nasty poisonous gas as petroleum based engines.

    It could be cleaner but not totally environmentally friendly as far as I can see.

    1. Thanks for that information Simon; I'll look in to that.


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