- Title: World's first formic acid-fuelled bus
- Date: 18th July 2017
- Summary: EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS (JULY 5, 2017) (REUTERS) PAN FROM BUS TO ATTACHED TRAILER CONTAINING FORMIC ACID FUELLING SYSTEM PAN OF MACHINERY REFORMER (BLACK) PART OF MECHANISM FUEL CELL (GREY) (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAX AERTS, TEAM MANAGER, TEAM FAST, SAYING: "Formic acid is a liquid sustainable fuel and can basically be seen as a liquid hydrogen carrier." PAN FROM BUS TO ATTACHED TRAILER CONTAINING FORMIC ACID FUELLING SYSTEM (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAX AERTS, TEAM MANAGER, TEAM FAST, SAYING: "We combine a hydrogen molecule with a carbon dioxide molecule, and when they are combined formic acid is formed, and that's a liquid. So, you can store hydrogen in a liquid and that's easy to fuel then." VARIOUS OF LUCAS VAN CAPPELLEN, MARKETING MANAGER, TEAM FAST, WITH FORMIC ACID DISPLAY ON BUS (SOUNDBITE) (English) LUCAS VAN CAPPELLEN, MARKETING MANAGER, TEAM FAST, SAYING: "Hydrozine is stored in the tank and that's a simple plastic tank, so doesn't have to be stored under pressure, and from there we pumped it into a reformer and that's a technology developed by Team FAST. In the reformer, there's a catalyst which is chemical and actually the catalyst helps dissolve the hydrozine into hydrogen gas and CO2, so it actually decomposes the molecule. A hydrogen gas can be pumped into a fuel cell, which is comparable with a hydrogen car. In a fuel cell the hydrogen connects with air and from that water vapour exists. But in that reaction a lot of electricity is generated and that electricity we can use to power a bus, but any other applications as well." AERTS STANDING NEXT TO FORMIC ACID MECHANISM, WITH HAND ON TANK CONTAINING HYDROZINE CLOSE-UP OF HAND ON TANK CONTAINING HYDROZINE AERTS STANDING NEXT TO FORMIC ACID MECHANISM, WITH HAND ON TANK CONTAINING HYDROZINE (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAX AERTS, TEAM MANAGER, TEAM FAST, SAYING: "The bus that you can see in the background has only 80 kilometres of range, so we need an alternative in order to make it drive further. A liquid fuel that can easily be refuelled, like formic acid, it is then the way to go to extend your range."
- 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: LVA0026Q8V6U3
- 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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