From Route One
Testing as electric bus will be followed by addition of hydrogen range extender by the end of 2016
South Yorkshire-based electric driveline specialist Magtec has announced that it is to create what is believed to be the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-equipped double-decker.
The small fuel cell unit will act as a range extender in an existing bus that Magtec has converted to battery electric power, and will be able to provide a constant 10kW/h of energy to the batteries.
Speaking at the Cenex exhibition at Millbrook Proving Ground last week, Magtec Managing Director Marcus Jenkins says that the bus – a 2008 Wrightbus Gemini HEV – has lost its original hybrid driveline and will very soon go to London as a battery electric bus for in-service testing on route 308 with Tower Transit.
It will then return to Magtec for addition of the range extender before further evaluation in the capital.
“Battery capacity is 100kW/h and so over a 10-hour duty we would source the energy equally from the range extender and the battery,” says Mr Jenkins.
“The fuel cell is completely scalable to suit customers’ requirements and that is reflected in its price.”
Two hydrogen tanks will be mounted above what was the engine bay. The electric power pack is “stable,” adds Mr Jenkins. “We have been manufacturing it for many years, and while we regularly make incremental improvements, it is essentially the same unit that is already fitted to many other buses.”
Initial response to Magtec’s hydrogen fuel cell range extender project from one leading London bus engineer is positive. He points out that, while still comparatively expensive, fuel cell technology is reliable and, unlike other range extension methods, completely emission-free at the point of use. Subject to scalability, it will also remove the ‘range anxiety’ of conventional electric buses.
If the trial is successful, we could see new hydrogen buses with various bus designs such as the Enviro400H City and the Wright SRM (New Routemaster).
The single deck hydrogen buses are currently on route RV1 which runs between Covent Garden and Tower Hill via the South Bank of London.
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