Four Citaro Fuel CELL Hybrid buses demonstrating the mid-term future of public trans in Germany.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Aug. 22, 2011
The first Mercedes-Benz Citaro Fuel CELL Hybrid in the world drives past a historic display of Hamburg’s past era of public transportation.
The new FC Bus went into service in Hamburg last Wednesday and for the first time, combines the emission-free technology of a fuel cell with hybrid technology for energy storage and recovery.
According to Mercedes, the bus of the future is now running in Hamburg. The quiet and locally zero emission Fuel Cell busses are moving passengers as we read.
Hamburger has acquired four Mercedes-Benz Citaro Fuel Cell Hybrids under the German "NaBuZ demo" scheme to promote sustainable bus systems for the future. Three more buses are to follow next year.
The Citaro Fuel Cell Hybrid
The new bus features a number of innovations by comparison to the 2003 fuel cell buses including hybridization with energy recovery, Li-Ion storage, far more powerful electric motors in the wheel hubs offering a continuous output of 120 kW, electrified auxiliary units and far more advanced fuel cells designed for an extended service life of at least six years or 12,000 operating hours
. The fuel cell stacks of the new Citaro Fuel cell Hybrid are identical to those of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class FCELL with fuel cell drive albeit much more of them. Just like the early 03 trial, the two FC stacks are installed on the vehicle's roof. With the electric power from the Li-Ion’s, the Citaro Fuel Cell Hybrid is able to run for several miles on battery power alone. The concept behind the new Fuel cell bus mimics that of the Mercedes-Benz BlueTec Hybrid buses which are also in regular service in Hamburg. A key difference is that the latter derive their electric power from a diesel generator, while in the new Fuel Cell buses the fuel cells generate the electricity for the drive motors from H2, without producing any emissions other than water out the tailpipe.
The improved fuel cell components and the hybridization with Li-Ion batteries result in a reduction of almost 50 percent in hydrogen consumption for the new bus compared to the previous generation. As a result, the new FC bus has just 7 35 kg H2 storage tanks compared to 9 previously.
In addition, the all-electric drive is virtually maintenance-free and is said to have a very long service life. These technical advances bring buses running on electric power a lot closer to reality. Of course after the price drops somewhat as well.
Günter Elste, CEO of Hamburger Hochbahn AG:
"According to all the forecasts, 20 to 25 years from now mineral oil and, in turn, diesel will be in short supply and too expensive to be a viable fuel for buses. Beginning in the third decade of the twentieth century, HOCHBAHN aims to purchase only electrically driven zero-emission buses.
The NaBuZ demo project of the Citaro Fuel Cell Hybrid buses as part of the "NaBuZ demo" project is to take place on HOCHBAHN's regular bus service schedule. The project is integrated into the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP).
The NaBuZ project receives funding through the federal transport ministry's National Innovation Programme (NIP). NIP is coordinated by NOW GmbH. There will also be close cooperation with the European CHIC project, in which 26 fuel cell buses are being run in five European cities.
Daimler Buses' involvement in the NaBuZ demo project and the CHIC project follows on from the European Union's successful CUTE and HyFLEET:CUTE projects which were staged from 2003 to 2009. In the course of these projects, 36 Mercedes-Benz Citaros fitted with second-generation fuel cell drives were placed into operation with twelve transport companies on three continents. Mercedes-Benz buses demonstrated the practical viability of the environmentally friendly FC drive over more than 140,000 operating hours covering more than 1.3 million miles.