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Development of full size electric bus with second generation fuel cells stacks



Increasing demand for zero emission transport in densely populated areas is usually provided for by electric systems, which are either limited in range (battery) or require heavy infrastructures (trolleys, trams).
The objective of the project is the realisation of a pre-commercial fuel cell powered electric bus with high energy efficiency, which will be environmentally compatible (ZEV vehicle), without range limitation and autonomous.

Technical Approach

A 35-50 kW PEM hydrogen/air fuel cell will be installed in hybrid combination with an energy buffer, allowing energy recovery when slowing or braking. The energy buffer will consist of an advanced Magneto Dynamic Storage (MDS) system and the energy flows between the fuel cell, the MDS and the electric motor will be managed by a special electronic component (Power Sources Integrator) in order to minimise the global energy consumption.

The fuel cell and all its ancilliaries will be packaged in a self contained Power Module that will replace the original ICE in the engine bay of a Neoplan N4114 city bus.

A significant task will be the industrialisation of the fuel cell technology, in order to make available a really low-cost, fuel cell capable of being mass produced.

Expected Achievements and Exploitation

The claimed innovative aspects of this project include:
Development of the fuel cell technology, intended as a step forward from existing technology (FEVER Project), developing a stack with a unit power in the range of 10-17 kW, and demonstrating possibilities for cost reduction as low as 300 ECU/kW.
Re-design of the fuel cell system (power module), i.e. all auxiliary components and subsystems needed for operating the fuel cells, in order to improve efficiency and significantly reduce weight and volume (2 to 3 times from present state). Particular attention will be paid to the air compression system, which is responsible for over 90% of auxiliary energy consumption.
Development of a high pressure, low weight storage system for gaseous hydrogen storage. The particular design and materials selection will enable energy densities similar to those of liquid hydrogen to be reached.
The results of these activities will be integrated into an advanced traction system based on flywheels as the energy buffer. It is foreseen that the complete propulsion system will not occupy any useful (payload) space on board; therefore the bus can be considered a real prototype rather than an experimental vehicle and will open the way to series production of fuel cell buses.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Corso Perrone 25
16152 Genova

Participants (5)

De Nora SpA
Via Bistolfi 35
20134 Milano
Rue De Clemenciere 2
38360 Sassenage
Neoplan, Gottlob Auwärter GmbH & Co.
118-122,Vaihinger Strasse
70567 Stuttgart
SAR Elecktronik BmbH Steuerung, Automation und Regeltechnik
31,Gobener Weg
84130 Dingolfing
Via All'opera Pia 15 A
16145 Genova