August 5th, 2020 by Jo Borrás
Imagine a bus. You know what a bus looks like — a big ol’ city bus, packed with people. Imagining that? Good. Now, imagine that same bus, except it’s driven by electric motors. It’s quiet, it’s smooth, and it doesn’t stink up the neighborhood with thick, black diesel smoke. Now, imagine that bus is hauling a trailer packed with hydrogen.
Does that mental postcard look ridiculous? Feast your eyes on the vehicular eyesore in real life, then ask yourself if what you imagined looks better or worse than the real thing, below.
In fairness, this isn’t really about the buses– it’s about the hydrogen “stacks” in the trailer. The stacks were made from existing technology at a lower cost than what we’re used to seeing for fuel cell projects, and were fitted to four fully-electric buses from the Dutch bus manufacturer VDL Bus & Coach. These were tested under real-world traffic conditions. Hot weather, cold weather, rainy weather, running empty, overheating — all of it — to determine their feasibility. And, apparently, they did the thing.
“We greatly appreciate the successful completion of the project,” said Armin Diez, the head of the Fuel Cell Technology business unit at ElringKlinger. “It again confirms the excellent testing results of our fuel cell stacks in a real application environment. The basis for the implementation of the stack technology used in this project are patented design features and high-precision manufacturing processes, which have been developed from existing products (read: products) that have already been manufactured in series for decades.”
With battery-electric buses already proving their worth in America, Europe, and really around the world, it seems hard to make a case, currently, for the hydrogen fuel cell business model. That said, the fact that fuel cell vehicles might be producible for far less than early projections seemed to imply might make … nah, this all seems pretty pointless.
What do you guys think? Is this hydrogen fuel cell trailer thing a potentially cheap, effective way to extend the range of battery electric buses to make rural and over-the-road trips cleaner, or is this one a bit of a reach (even for the hydrogen guys)? Watch the official video, below, then let us know what you think in the comments at the bottom of the page.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Trailer
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Send us an email: [email protected]
Latest Cleantech Talk Episodes
Latest CleanTechnica.TV Episode