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Cities speeding up the integration of hydrogen buses in public fleets

Periodic Report Summary 5 - HIGH V.LO-CITY (Cities speeding up the integration of hydrogen buses in public fleets)

Project Context and Objectives:
The overall objective of High V.LO City is to facilitate deployment of the last generation Fuel Cell Hybrid Buses (FCB) in public transport operations, by addressing key environmental and operational concerns that transport authorities are facing today. Through the strategic location of the project’s 3 demo sites, the project envisions broad dissemination of actual FCB performance in normal bus operations to other first users and potentially interested transport authorities in their geographical area.
Project Results:
During the fifth project year, two of the three High V.LO City sites were operational: Aberdeen and Antwerp. For the third side, i.e. Sanremo a financial solution was found to make this site operational in 2017 and as part of that solution, a fourth site was welcomed in the project as Groningen will take over 2 buses from the original Sanremo fleet.
This will result in all 14 High V.LO City buses being in operations at the end of 2017.
Aberdeen FC bus fleet compete diesel buses
Aberdeen is the most successful demonstration site within High V.LO City. The four Scottish buses travel an annual mileage that is comparable with these driven by diesel buses. The site of Aberdeen demonstrate that it is possible to operate FC buses as dieselbuses when the appropriate means are made available. The most important here are (a team of) well skilled technicians and a fast supply chain. A critical amount of buses surely is favorable to make FC Bus technology work: in total 10 FC Buses operate in and around Aberdeen as the 6 buses in the HyTransit project are maintained by the same team.
Antwerp plans to make FC Bus operations more efficient
Although the FC buses operate daily, the fleet in Antwerp does not reach the mileage targets as originally foreseen. Two main reasons explain the reduced uses of the FC Bus fleet in Antwerp. (1) The hydrogen station in Antwerp is located at 22km from the bus depot. Bridging this distance daily with 5 buses requires too much driver workload and (2) DeLijn struggles with an important and continuous lack of drivers. To solve these situations an action plan is developed. Pitpoint takes over the refueling station from Solvay and will replace it towards the depot of DeLijn. Secondly, DeLijn will organize in- and out-house campaigns to acquire and train new drivers.
Sanremo site secured
Whereas at the beginning of 2016 the situation in Sanremo was more as critical with an almost bankrupt public transport operator, a solution was found for this problem by the project management and the local authorities. A reduction of the local fleet together with a new design of the refeulling station and a financial injection by local authorities made the business case in Sanremo feasible again. Since October the 5 buses in Sanremo are brought back to Belgium for upgrades one after eachother and the preparations for the construction of the refeulling station are started. Bus operations are expected to start up from November 2017 onwards.
Groningen is a new site in High V.LO City
QBUZZ in Groningen joined the High V.LO City project as the fourth demonstration site with 2 buses from mid 2016 onwards. During the second half of 2016 these demonstrations are prepared. Therefore QBUZZ, who is the public operator, Van Hool as bus manufacturer, the local transport authorities, gas suppliers and PitPoint, who will construct and operate the refueling station in Delfzijl worked closely together. It is planned to have the two buses inaugurated in the first half of 2017 and start the public service in the last quarter in 2017. Between the inauguration of the buses and the start of the service, test- and demonstration runs will be organized.
In this way Groningen will be the first Fuel Cell bus demonstration site in The Netherlands.

Data logging
With 9 buses in service in the High V.LO City project data that describes service characteristics, bus and refueling station performance and economical impact of the demonstrations is generated. This dataflow is processed and analyzed by the operators, the bus and refueling station suppliers and finally by DITEN, the projects’ evaluation manager. 2016 was finished with an overall bus availability of 94 % in Antwerp and 82.16 % in Aberdeen and respectively 69.509,4 and 190.175 km driven. Considering the refueling stations in both sites, a station availability of 83% in Antwerp and of 99.91% in Aberdeen has been recorded. More quantitative data is presented in Figure 2.
With two years in operations for Antwerp and over 22months in Aberdeen, the datacollection describing the budgetary efforts to operate these buses is ongoing, but is not yet very relevant to give indications about the real costs. From next year onwards, when the guarantee period for the vehicles will be over, these numbers will be.
Dissemination of project achievements
The dissemination activities in 2016 concentrated on informing about the presence of the High V.LO City sites and the current state of the operations. No less than 15 project presentations were held in workshops and seminars and 7 real-life demonstrations with a FC Bus being present, all over Europe but concentrating on the 3 sites in the project. At the end of 2016, the ‘FC Bus website’ became operational. This site is initiated from the High V.LO City project and its results but aims to be the FC Bus Knowledge base in Europe and is regularly updated with the bus operations results.
The dissemination in the project concentrates now around the 23 messages that are defined in the new dissemination plan.

Potential Impact:
Final results
In the High V.LO City project the demonstration of 14 FCB at three demonstration sites in Sanremo, Aberdeen, Groningen and Antwerp is realised, each of them equipped with an own, novel Refuelling Infrastructure. This demonstration, together with highly efficient dissemination activities, will result in:
-an increase of public awareness in both the 3 sites involved and potential candidate regions in order to accelerate the commercialization steps of hydrogen public transport.
-documentation on approval and certification processes of vehicles and infrastructure
-dissemination of lessons learned
-evaluation of vehicles and refuelling infrastructure
-enlargement and interlinking of spots in Europe’s zero-emission corridor

Impacts related to the JTI Implementation Plan
High V. LO-City intends to maximise the effect of its actions at local level, considering the regional development as the key element to sustain the overall European FCH market take-up. Involving in each of the three planned demonstration sites the entire value chain of stakeholders (Public administration, PT Operators, Research organisation, educational centres), the expected outcome is to reach Regional & Urban Mobility Plans, which will commit selected regions to built-up long-lasting integrated policies to support FCH market enhancement, targeted to their specific needs.
The first step to reach an European impact is the selection of three test sites in Antwerp, Liguria and Aberdeen. These demonstration sites represent three of the most relevant scenarios to be analysed I Europe to sustain the FCH market take-off. Positive comparison analysis of these demonstrators will allow High V. LO-City to produce sound business cases and regulatory proposals on effective push and pull local measures.

Impacts of EU transport policy
HIGH V.LO-CITY investigates and demonstrates new buses systems and solutions to identify a set of tools and solutions (practical, organisational or other) that could contribute to enhance the integration and sustainability of the H2 vehicles market in Europe. HIGH V.LO-CITY is concerned with the potential of knowledge sharing and transferability of successful local business cases,presenting practical and feasible approaches on how to speed the market enhancement of innovative H2 vehicles and refuelling infrastructures at regional level.
Expected impacts in relation to stakeholders involvement
Industrial partners will use the technical results of the demonstration activities to develop the designs of their buses and refuelling systems ready for a widespread rollout of the technology.
They will support a process of standardisation in defining the H2 bus of the future, promoting a convergence strategy on technical and functional standards of buses and their technical components.
Bus manufacturers will also use the results of the project to develop a formal commercial offer of hydrogen bus vehicles as a part of their standard product range. This will allow the bus industry to respond to zero emission mandated procurement projects, to promote hydrogen bus technologies to their mainstream customers and begin to develop formal procurement strategies. The results of the successful deployment of hydrogen buses under this project will be a critical part of that offer.
Research partners will use the results of the project to demonstrate the beneficial contribution of the High V. LO-City project to the reduction of greenhouse gases, and the benefit to a range of environmental and economic policies and strategies of the EC. These benefits of hydrogen buses will be used to lobby for supportive international, national and local policies during the commercial introduction of hydrogen bus technologies.
PT operators and Regional administrations will use the results of the project and the increased public approval for hydrogen bus technologies to set-up, in their own territories and regions local Clean Technology Centre of Excellence.

List of Websites: