In the last few years a series of demonstration projects have taken place that have demonstrated the potential of a transport energy system based on hydrogen. These have seen the development and demonstration of:-
• Different hydrogen infrastructures ;
• Fuel cell powered buses and cars; and
• Buses and cars powered by hydrogen internal combustion engines.
As a result, there are some 100 FC and ICE cars, a few FC delivery vans, and between 40 and 45 fuel cell and ICE buses in operation around the world. Most of the buses are in regular public transport and airport trolley service.
The bus projects in particular have provided the developers and the operators with excellent data and experience because the vehicles are generally operated by professional drivers and often under especially hard conditions, such as uninterrupted operation for more than 12 hours under some very harsh, extremes of climatic conditions.
The HyFLEET:CUTE project will see the operation of the world's largest fleet of hydrogen powered buses. It builds on the learning and developments from many of these previous projects.
The HyFLEET:CUTE bus fleet will be supported by a hydrogen infrastructure which will produce, refine, distribute and dispense hydrogen in many different ways.
New advanced prototypes of hydrogen Fuel Cell and Internal Combustion Engine buses will also be developed and trialled.
An advanced hydrogen infrastructure is being established in Berlin which is capable of refuelling a fleet of up to 20 buses. This is aimed to achieve reliability and availability performance as good as current CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) infrastructure, and to be highly energy efficient.
A very active and extensive dissemination and information programme – the Global Hydrogen Bus Platform – combined with the inclusion of Beijing, China, aims to extend the impact of this technology world-wide.