- Title: World's first formic acid-fuelled bus
- Date: 18th July 2017
- Summary: EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS (JULY 5, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) LUCAS VAN CAPPELLEN, MARKETING MANAGER, TEAM FAST, SAYING: "The hydrozine can be fuelled comparable for very cheap price. The pricing of the fuelling stations will be comparable with diesel or gasoline, which makes it 100 times cheaper than hydrogen. And furthermore, the energy density paper per volume is three times higher for hydrozine than for hydrogen and even four times higher than batteries so that means that in the same amount of volume of your fuel you can store way more energy and that makes it able to on the same amount of fuel, drive much further." VARIOUS OF FORMIC ACID DISPLAY DISPLAY (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAX AERTS, TEAM MANAGER, TEAM FAST, SAYING: "You can see the white panel on the left. That's actually the tank in which we store the hydrozine. Then from the tank it's pumped into the reformer and that's the black thing on the right side and in the reformer - that's really the innovation that we have been making - the hydrozine is cut up back into hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide gas, and we lead that gas mixture to the fuel cell - that's the square on the left, the grey part. There the hydrogen is combined with oxygen from the air and turned into electricity. Now that electricity we use then to power the bus and make it drive further than it ever could." MORE OF BUS EXTERIORS
- Embargoed: 1st August 2017 10:09
- Keywords: formic acid Team FAST TU/e Eindhoven renewables bus
- Location: EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS / ANIMATION
- City: EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS / ANIMATION
- Country: Netherlands
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA0046Q8V6U3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A new energy system that allows a bus to drive on formic acid has been unveiled by Dutch students.
The Team FAST group has created a system in which the simple carboxylic acid is split into hydrogen and CO2 inside a small attachable trailer.
In a trial later this year local bus company VDL will attach the trailer - christened REX by the student team from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) - to produce electricity that will power the electric vehicle.
"Formic acid is a liquid sustainable fuel and can basically be seen as a liquid hydrogen carrier," Team FAST manager Max Aerts told Reuters. "We combine a hydrogen molecule with a carbon dioxide molecule, and when they are combined formic acid is formed."
The fuel devised by the team has been named hydrozine and consists of 99 percent formic acid plus a performance enhancing agent. It's capable of producing 25 kilowatts of power.
Marketing manager Lucas van Cappellen explained: "Hydrozine is stored in a simple plastic tank, and doesn't have to be stored under pressure. It's then pumped into a reformer in which there's a chemical catalyst that helps dissolve the hydrozine into hydrogen gas and CO2, so actually decomposes the molecule. In a fuel cell the hydrogen connects with air and from that water vapour appears. A lot of electricity is generated which we can use to power a bus."
Aerts says using hydrozine triples the daily range of a battery-powered autobus.
"This bus has only 80 kilometres (50 miles) of range, so we need an alternative to make it drive further."
The tank on-board REX holds around 300 litres, so could extend the bus's range by 200 kilometres (124 miles). Current hydrogen fuel cell buses have a range of up to 400 kilometres (249 miles) and van Cappellen says the team could easily increase the size of a hydrozine tank.
Team FAST says using hydrozine is cheaper than transporting hydrogen in large tanks at high pressure. Hydrozine also contains four times as much energy density as a battery and, as a liquid, will require fewer modifications to filling station infrastructure.
"The pricing will be comparable with diesel or gasoline, which makes it 100 times cheaper than hydrogen," said van Cappellen. "Furthermore the energy density paper per volume is three times higher for hydrozine than for hydrogen and four times higher than batteries. For the same volume of fuel you can store way more energy and drive much further on the same amount of fuel."
In addition, the team says the bus's tailpipe emissions will only be biogenic CO2 and water, with no nitric oxides or sulphuric oxides emitted.
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