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Mainland dams accused of carbon credit scams

smokestackLast updated: April 7, 2010

Source: South China Morning Post

Environmental lobby group International Rivers has condemned the emergence of trade in fake carbon credits and says the biggest source is hydroelectric power projects on the mainland.

Under what is known as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, industrialised countries can support projects that decrease emissions in developing countries and then use the resulting emission reduction credits towards their own reduction targets.

But International Rivers says the CDM is “failing miserably and is undermining the effectiveness of the Kyoto Protocol” because most of the emission reduction credits are fake and come from projects that do not reduce emissions.

It says hydropower projects constitute a quarter of all projects in the CDM pipeline, and 67 per cent of these, or about 700 projects, are on the mainland.

However, International Rivers says there has been no substantial jump in hydropower development to match the large number of supposedly new projects applying to generate CDM credits.

The CDM recently withheld approval of carbon credits from numerous mainland dams and wind farms.

Controversy over the Chinese dams recently led the European Climate Exchange (ECX), the world’s leading market for trading carbon credits, to renew its ban on large hydropower Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), which are carbon credits issued by the CDM executive board.

The European Union is the biggest buyer of CERs, while China sells 70 per cent of the world’s CERs.

Dams built before applications are made for carbon credits are deemed not to contribute to reducing carbon emissions and thus should not qualify to sell carbon credits. Such dams are called “business-as-usual” in the industry jargon.

“There are blatant cases of hydro plants being business-as-usual, whereas other hydro projects seem to really require CDM credits,” Axel Michaelowa, a founding partner of the CDM consultancy Perspectives and a researcher at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, said.

The accuracy of assessments of the eligibility of mainland dams for carbon credits is distorted by questionable data, Michaelowa said.

“Many hydro plants in China use an artificially low utilisation rate for the calculation of their profitability. The regulators have also discovered some hydro projects reported a very low electricity tariff, lower than coal power plants and other hydro projects in the same province.

“Such projects are now increasingly being rejected.”

At a meeting of the CDM executive board in February, 38 mainland dams failed to get carbon credits. The board also decided to review 36 wind projects in China, Katy Yan, a campaign assistant with International Rivers, wrote in her blog.

“These 74 projects hope to produce almost 38 million carbon credits by 2013,” worth about US$600 million, she said.

“The problem is very serious,” Patrick McCully, executive director of International Rivers, said. “Dams are the largest single project type in the CDM. Almost all are likely projects that would have been built anyway regardless of receiving credits, meaning that any credits they generate are fake.”

A World Commission on Dams report has set guidelines that determine whether a dam qualifies to sell carbon credits.

By March 6, 16.32 million CERs had been issued for 132 dams, and China accounted for 71.52 per cent of the 653 large hydropower projects in the world that have been registered or are seeking registration under the CDM to sell CERs, according to International Rivers. A large hydropower project is defined as one with a capacity of more than 15 megawatts.

On March 24, ECX announced it would renew its ban, imposed in 2008, on contracts with large hydro CERs, ECX market development director Sara Stahl said. “We have always excluded large hydro because it’s a grey area,” she said.

Two types of carbon credits are traded on the exchange: CERs and EU allowances, which are carbon credits issued under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Since trading at ECX began in 2005, trading of carbon credits and related instruments has soared.

Last year, the value of ECX’s trades surged 82 per cent year on year to €68 billion (HK$708.4 billion).

ECX’s renewal of its ban on large hydro CERs came about after discussions with its members, which include more than 100 large multinational companies, this year, Stahl said. “We felt there were some legitimate criticisms,” she said. “Companies are nervous about it.”

Michaelowa said there was concern that some Chinese dams had required the resettlement of the local population without proper compensation and about whether large hydro plants are sustainable.

In December 2008, an International Rivers press release alleged that German utility RWE, one of the biggest carbon dioxide emitters in Europe, planned to buy carbon credits from the Xiaoxi dam in Hunan – which failed to meet World Commission on Dams guidelines – and that would be a breach of EU law.

On a site visit, International Rivers found 7,500 people had been evicted to make way for the Xiaoxi dam without proper compensation, which violated the World Commission on Dams guidelines. Xiaoxi is one of at least 11 Chinese large hydropower projects from which RWE was buying credits. TUV SUD of Germany was auditor for the project.

At a CDM executive board meeting in March, the board suspended TUV SUD from auditing hydro projects, as it had approved dams that were later found to have problems. Another carbon credit auditor, Korea Energy Management Corp, was partly suspended.

“The fact that only a few of the projects validated by TUV SUD have been rejected is proof of the quality of TUV SUD’s activities,” Heidi Atzler, a TUV SUD spokeswoman, said.

An RWE spokeswoman, Julia Scharlemann, said every CDM project in which RWE was involved was “thoroughly reviewed” by an independent auditor, and RWE adhered to German Emissions Trading Authority rules, which were more rigorous than CDM processes and the standards of other EU nations.

RWE bought carbon credits only from projects approved by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, she added.

Michaelowa admitted CDM’s process of approving dams was imperfect, with room for improvement, while McCully said the best solution would be to scrap the CDM and the whole concept of international carbon offsetting entirely.

“If that is not possible, then ban hydropower from CDM,” he said.

Blackout woes for plants in Dongguan

city-in-blackoutLast updated: April 7, 2010

Source: South China Morning Post

Severe drought results in power rationing

The devastating drought in the southwest is forcing once-a-week blackouts at Dongguan factories due to power shortages from the nation’s hydroelectric dams.

Since April 1, Hong Kong manufacturers say power supplies have been suspended one day each week in Dongguan, and some expect the mandatory rationing will spread to industrial towns in Shenzhen.

Several factory owners said they were left with little choice but to generate their own electricity through diesel-powered generators, a dirtier and more expensive alternative.

Some warned that the supply crunch could balloon into a crisis next month, when the peak-production season begins. This would exacerbate recent challenges such as labour shortages, soaring raw material costs and wages, a possible appreciation in the yuan and weak demand in the United States and Europe.

“The export sector improved obviously in the first quarter, but new challenges come from all fronts now,” Toys Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong vice-president Yeung Chi-kong said yesterday. “Some costs such as electricity are rising so fast and are beyond our control that it will be lucky if a factory doesn’t lose money.”

To keep production lines moving, Yeung, who is also vice-chairman of toy exporter Blue Box Holdings, said the company’s factory in Dongguan was forced to produce its own electricity, which cost 30 per cent more than power from the state supplier.

He estimated that higher fuel costs, together with about a 21 per cent rise in the minimum monthly wage in Dongguan to 920 yuan (HK$1,046.70) and at least a 20 per cent jump in prices of plastics and paper-packaging materials, would in turn jack up overall operating costs by 5 per cent.

This would erode the factory’s wafer-thin profit margin, he said. “We are trying to pass the extra costs on to customers, but so far they are bargaining extremely hard,” Yeung said.

The once-in-a-century drought ravaging Yunnan, Guangxi and Sichuan provinces has hobbled hydropower plants, which have reduced electricity supplies to Guangdong by about 23 per cent in the first three months of this year.

Electricity from the western provinces supplies about one-third of Guangdong’s power needs.

The Guangdong provincial government placed priority on supply to residential users, and discouraged consumption by energy-consuming industries such as electroplating and cement and steel production. The province signed agreements last month with Hong Kong supplier CLP Power (SEHK: 0002), which will export more power across the border, particularly in summer.

Wilson Shea Kai-chuen, a premium product manufacturer in Dalong in Shenzhen and vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Association, said he expected compulsory power blackouts would begin in a few weeks, when the busy season begins.

He said that on April 1, state supplier China Southern Grid recommended factories in Dalong suspend operations a day every week or minimise power consumption.

Dennis Ng Wang-pun, the managing director of exporter Polaris Jewellery, said electricity supply in Panyu in Guangdong remained normal but warned that the electricity crunch would come on top of labour shortages.

His factory in Panyu, which has about 400 workers processing jewellery, was still short of about 100 workers, Ng said. He said new orders improved in the first quarter from the same period last year, at the height of the global financial crisis, but shoppers’ appetite remained weak.

“I don’t see a marked improvement in demand in the US until the second half,” he added.

Sewage could be energy source, scientist says

Ng Kang-chung, SCMP

In as little as 10 years, sewage may become a valued commodity and source of energy rather than a waste-disposal problem.

“That might sound like science fiction. But the basic technology has been there for many decades,” said Professor Herbert Fang, chairman of environmental engineering at the University of Hong Kong.

Bacteria or other micro-organisms are used to break down organic pollutants in biological waste-water treatment. However, this so-called aeration process, adopted in many of Hong Kong’s sewage-treatment plants, produces waste sludge and requires much electricity to power pumps to supply oxygen to keep the organisms active.

But under anaerobic, or no-oxygen, conditions, there are some micro-organisms that can convert sewage first into hydrogen and then methane. Methane can be used as a fuel but it is considered an unwanted greenhouse gas. By controlling treatment conditions, it is possible to produce hydrogen, instead of methane, from waste water, Fang says.

Then, in theory, treatment plants could be designed to take in sewage at one end and send treated water and hydrogen fuel out the other. Production may only be limited by the amount of sewage available.

Fang estimates that treating the 2.9 million cubic metres of sewage produced in the city every day – enough to fill 1,560 standard swimming pools – could account for 1.5 per cent of total electricity consumption. The city uses about 160,000 terajoules of electricity every year, according to government figures.

“While we can treat sewage by the anaerobic process, it can produce hydrogen. It is a sustainable technology that kills two birds with one stone,” said Fang, who was among the world’s first researchers to start such a study 10 years ago. “It has been proved in laboratory-scale reactors. Large-scale application may take just another 10 years or more.”

His study showed that the level of acidity was an important factor affecting the microbial population and, hence, the hydrogen production.

An exhibition on bio-hydrogen production from waste water opens at the Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui East today. Fang will be one of the officiating guests

New Advances in Hydrogen Fuel Catalysts

Hydrogen has great potential as a fuel of future because it is an environmentally clean energy fuel and save us from the undesirable side effects of greenhouse gases. Before becoming it a fuel of the masses we need necessary infrastructure to store it and move it. We will also need fuel cells on economical scale. To make hydrogen as a popular alternative fuel some engineers are working on storage factor of hydrogen fuel. They don’t want compressed hydrogen into a tank. They want to store hydrogen fuel into a large molecule. When we want hydrogen out of the molecule we will need a catalyst. Now, researchers have new details about one such catalyst.

Scientists from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are working on catalysts. They are finding out the characteristics of the catalyst which are a cluster of rhodium, boron and other atoms. The catalyst chemically reacts with ammonia borane to release the hydrogen as a gas. Ammonia borane is a molecule that stores hydrogen densely. PNNL chemist and study author Roger Rousseau shares his thoughts, “These studies tell us what is the hardest part of the chemical reaction. If we can find a way to change the hard part, that is, make it easier to release the hydrogen, then we can improve this catalyst.”

Researchers and engineers are figuring out the hydrogen storage system that is safe and discharges hydrogen easily. They are “storing” hydrogen as part of a larger molecule. Ammonia borane contains hydrogen atoms and serves as structural hold-on. The catalyst’s job is to extract the hydrogen from the ammonia borane.

The PNNL chemists in the Institute for Interfacial Catalysis are banking on the rhodium-based catalyst. The scientists are working on various structural combinations that can give maximum output. Right now they are trying various shapes such as tetrahedron, or a triangular pyramid with four rhodium atoms at the core. To arrive at the ideal combination they are trying both theory and experimental work.

They employed several methods for ammonia borane reaction. They used one unusual technique operando XAFS. They X-rayed the catalysts in action instead of the usual standstill X-ray. They carried out some different experiments too in EMSL, DOE’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory on the PNNL campus. They collected important data but they require exhaustive analysis before they can make any sense. The research team used computer models to solve this data puzzle so that they can construct a theoretical molecular configuration that accounted for all the data. These computationally challenging models were calculated on computers at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California.

The computer model created a structure that best integrated the experimental data. They tested the authenticity of the data too with computer simulation with the help of an operando XAFS analysis of the catalytic structure reacting with ammonia borane. The next logical step was to compare the simulated data with real data of the catalyst. The two sets of data didn’t have much difference.

The chemical character of the structure and supplementary experimental data helped the team to chart the chemical reaction occurring between the catalyst and the ammonia borane. The catalyst is always in the state of a motion so it is difficult to spot but nonetheless it is a good catalyst.

How this catalyst actually works? First it marks out hydrogen from the ammonia borane molecule. This ammonia borane consists of a nitrogen atom in the molecule holding onto two hydrogen atoms. First, the catalyst picks out one hydrogen atom. This is the hardest part of the reaction. This first step makes the bond between the remaining hydrogen and boron unstable. Now plucking off the second hydrogen atom becomes easier. Same holds true for the last two hydrogen atoms. These hydrogen atoms can be utilized in engines or fuel cells.

The team has yet to figure out the additional details but this study makes a big dent in what they need to know to design a good, inexpensive catalyst. Rousseau elaborates, “An important part about this work is that we have these kinds of DOE teams where we can start with experiments and go to theory and back again. We get a lot more information this way than doing either one alone.”

Clear the Air Says – Go Hydrogen


Hydrogen Powered Street Cleaner

We are hearing about many inventions and discoveries in the alternative energy sector. But we don’t get to read about many ‘actual’ finished products doing their work in real world. What we know is many models being tested in laboratories. But here we are seeing Bucher CityCat H2, the world’s first municipal utility vehicle powered by fuel cells, made its debut last week in Basel, Switzerland. This street-cleaning CityCat will be doing her work on an eighteen months trial basis. It will be a matter of study that how this vehicle nicknamed as Bucher CityCat H2 be helpful in reducing air pollution than traditional diesel engines. Empa and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have, in collaboration with Bucher Schoerling, Proton Motor, BRUSA Elektronik AG und Messer Schweiz, developed a hydrogen powered municipal street cleaning vehicle that was unveiled to the public on 14th May 2009 in Basel.

CityCat is powered by fuel cells. Fuel cells convert hydrogen into electrical current that drives the vehicle’s electric motor. So we can see that no pollutants come out from its exhaust pipe. Only water vapor is being emitted that is a result of the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. This vehicle not only reduces pollution, but CityCat’s energy consumption is half compared to diesel engines and it reduces CO2 emissions by 40%. Such vehicles are especially useful in sensitive areas for example pedestrian precincts, railway station halls or even in enclosed structures such as exhibition halls.

Project Leader Christian Bach, Head of Empa’s Internal Combustion Engines Laboratory says, “Our aim is to take fuel cell technology from the laboratory onto the street.” The project — also named as ‘hy.muve’ i.e. (hydrogen-driven municipal vehicle) – is also used as a research platform for socio-economic studies. It can throw light on acceptance of hydrogen technology, its market introduction and its cost effectiveness.

But the big question is still unanswered; it’s about the possibility of hydrogen power. Because most of the hydrogen power is generated from non-renewable natural gas. CityCat presents a great opportunity to test whether hydrogen power is actually cost-effective for municipal use. Even if it is found to be cost-effective, hydrogen technology has a long way to go before it is accepted in mainstream vehicles.

BMW Hydrogen 7 Production

BMW has announced the start of production of the new BMW Hydrogen 7, the world’s first hydrogen-powered luxury saloon car. Destined to make its first public appearance on 28 November at the Los Angeles Motor Show, the Hydrogen 7 will be built in limited numbers and offered to selected users in 2007. The BMW Hydrogen 7 is based on the existing 7 Series and comes equipped with an internal combustion engine capable of running on liquid hydrogen or petrol. In hydrogen mode the car emits nothing more than water vapor. Powered by a 260hp 12-cylinder engine, the Hydrogen 7 accelerates from zero to 62mph in 9.5 seconds before going on to an electronically limited 143mph top speed.

YouTube: BMW Hydrogen 7

With its unique dual power engine, the driver of a Hydrogen 7 can switch quickly and conveniently from hydrogen to conventional petrol power at the press of a steering wheel-mounted button. The dual power technology means the car has a cruising range in excess of 125 miles in the hydrogen mode with a further 300 miles under petrol power. To make this possible the BMW Hydrogen 7 comes with a conventional 74-litre petrol tank and an additional hydrogen fuel tank holding up to 8kgs of liquid hydrogen. Such flexibility means the driver of a BMW Hydrogen 7 is able to use the vehicle at all times, even when the nearest hydrogen filling station is out of range.

The driver can switch between the two without any effect on driving behavior or performance. The car always gives priority to the use of hydrogen but, should this run out; it automatically switches to petrol power.

For undiluted driver enjoyment, engine power and torque in the Hydrogen 7 Unlike many previous hydrogen concept cars showcased by rival manufacturers the BMW Hydrogen 7 heralds a milestone in the history of the car. It is a full production ready vehicle, which has met all the stringent processes and final sign-off criteria that every current BMW model undergoes. A total of 100 BMW Hydrogen 7s will be built in 2007. Details on pricing and the destinations of the 100 cars will be announced at a later date.

Why hydrogen?
The BMW Group has been committed to hydrogen technology as a means of reducing car emissions, in particular CO2 emissions, for over 20 years. When running in the hydrogen mode, the BMW Hydrogen 7 essentially emits nothing but water vapor. And, unlike fossil fuels and traditional petrol, hydrogen is available in virtually infinite supply when renewable energies such as solar, wind and wave power are used to produce the liquid hydrogen. Stored in a hi-tech tank which keeps the fuel at a pressure of 3-5 bar and a consistent temperature of -250C, liquid hydrogen offers significant advantages in energy density compared to other possible alternative fuel sources to enhance the cruising range of the car.

BMW continues to develop ultra efficient, yet very dynamic petrol engines that significantly reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Together with clean performance diesel cars and the technologically advanced hybrid systems currently under development, the BMW Group has a clear strategy for sustainable mobility with hydrogen as the ultimate goal.

Future Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

September 30th, 2006

Forget ethanol or biodiesel. The next big thing in automotive fuel may very well be hydrogen. Automakers rapidly are closing in on making hydrogen fuel cell vehicles an everyday fact of life, with several test models set to debut over the next few years. Hydrogen fuel cells to power vehicles is desirable, experts say, because hydrogen is a renewable fuel that can be used to create electricity to run cars. A chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen produces the electric power, and when pure hydrogen is used, the only emission from the tailpipe is harmless water vapor.

Tokyo Gas Halves CO2 Emissions in Hydrogen Production

Chiho Matsuda, Nikkei Monozukuri, – Mar 16, 2009

Tokyo Gas Co announced March 12, 2009, that it succeeded in halving CO2 emissions in a verification test of CO2 separation/collection in a hydrogen production process while maintaining its production efficiency.

Tokyo Gas has been developing and verifying hydrogen production equipment intended for fuel cell vehicles at its JHFC Senju Hydrogen Station (in Arakawa Ward, Tokyo). In November 2008, the company attached a CO2 separation/collection device to the equipment and started the test.

  • JHFC Senju Hydrogen Station, where the verification tests were conducted. The reformer testing equipment on the left is 3.6 (W) x 2.6 (D) x 2.3m (H), and the CO2 separation/collection testing equipment is 2.1 (W) x 1.5 (D) x 2.3m (H).The structure of the hydrogen separation type reformer
  • Analysis of the obtained data showed that the energy loss due to CO2 separation/collection was about 3%.

    At the station, hydrogen is produced from city gas by using a hydrogen separation type reformer that produces hydrogen and CO2 by the steam-reforming reaction between city gas (methane) and steam. The generated hydrogen is extracted during the production process by installing a film that transmits only hydrogen in the reformer where the reaction occurs.

    The hydrogen production efficiency is 81.4%, which is “the world’s highest” for a process of producing hydrogen from fossil fuel, according to Tokyo Gas.

    The reformer carries out the reforming reaction and hydrogen separation in one process, contributing to downsizing of equipment. In addition, CO2 concentration in the reforming offgas (the gas left behind after extraction of hydrogen), which is generated during the hydrogen production process, is 70 to 90%; therefore, it is easy to separate and collect CO2.

    The hydrogen separation/collection device compresses the reforming offgas exhausted from the reformer to 7MPa and cools it down to -20°C so as to liquidize CO2 in the reforming offgas for separation and collection. Combined gases containing methane and hydrogen are used as a fuel for heating the reformer.

    Tokyo Gas is planning to form the “Local Hydrogen Network,” which evolves around hydrogen stations equipped with a distributed CCTS (carbon dioxide capture, transportation and storage) function for CO2 separation, transportation and processing.

    With the network, hydrogen will be supplied to fuel cell vehicles, as well as to houses, offices and plants near the station through pipelines. The company intends to further reduce CO2 by using fuel cells with higher efficiency. Also, it plans to utilize the results of the verification tests for creating this network.

    The reformer used for the experiment was developed jointly by Tokyo Gas and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd as part of the “Basic Technology Development Program for Safe Use of Hydrogen,” a program for the period from fiscal 2005 to 2007, implemented by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

    Triple Hybrid Fuel Cell Bus Unveiled – 14 May 09

    A presentation near Munich marked the debut of the first passenger bus to use a triple hybrid fuel cell system developed by Fuel Cell GmbH, a subsidiary of Proton Power Systems.

    The vehicle has been born from co-operation between Skoda Electric, UJV Nuclear Research Institute and Proton Motor. Skoda Electric was responsible for the vehicle including its electric drive system and system integration. The project was then co-ordinated by UJV with Proton Motor supplying the propulsion system.

    So how does the triple hybrid system work?

    Well it combines a 50kW PM Basic A 50 fuel cell system with a battery pack and ultra-capacitors. With regenerative braking taken into account the system enables energy savings in excess of 50 per cent compared to a conventional diesel bus and is emission free in operation.

    The vehicle itself is a basic 12 metre bus with a weight of 18tonnes. Its nominal output is 120kW and it has a maximum speed of 40mph. It carries around 20kg of compressed gaseous hydrogen at 350 bar and the filling process takes less than 10 minutes.

    The vehicle is now scheduled to go into operation from mid-2009 onwards in Prague.

    Toyota Could Have Hydrogen Fuel-cell Car on the Road by 2014

    Kenneth Hall, Motor Authority – May 12 2009

    The new date is a year earlier than scheduled due to changes in California’s ZEV mandate

    Honda’s FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle has grabbed lots of headlines, as has BMW’s combustion-powered Hydrogen7 and Mazda’s rotary RE line of vehicles, including the RX-8. But Toyota is working on a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle too, and it could be on the streets by 2014.

    Well, the streets of California at least. The company had previously released plans to have a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle on the road by 2015, but that schedule has been bumped up a year to meet the incentives within California’s Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate.

    “So much of what happens is directly related to the California ZEV mandates — they’re followed by at least 14 states, and they affect nearly half of the cars on the market in the United States. Phase IV of the mandates covers model years 2015 through 2017, so that means we could begin complying in late 2014,” John Hanson, a Toyota spokesperson, told the New York Times.

    California’s ZEV scheme has previously influenced Toyota and other carmakers, including General Motors, to introduce zero-emissions vehicles, including the RAV-4 EV and the much-discussed EV-1.

    This time around, the monetary benefits to California’s program are such that it’s now a valid business case for Toyota to build the hydrogen fuel-cell car.

    Proton Motor and Skoda Electric Have Presented the Worlds First Fuel Cell Triple Hybrid Bus – 12 May 2009

    Proton Motor Fuel Cell and Skoda Electric today presented a preview of the worlds first fuel cell triple hybird linenbus, which will go into operation this summer in Prague.

    The project is a cooperation between Skoda Electric, the systems integrator and electrical components, the UJV Nuclear Research Institute, R&D and project coordination and Proton Motor, which produced and delivered the fuel cell triple hybrid propulsion system.

    The triple hybrid system is a world first combination of a fuel cell, batteries and ultra capacitors, allowing saving and further use of useful braking energy. The system is reported as saving upto 50% of energy as compared with a conventional bus drivetrain.

    The chasis of the new bus is a standard 12 meter with 18 tonne combined weight. The new drivetrain allows produces upto 120 kW of power, can travel up to 65 km/hr and with a full tank can travel 250km before refuelling. The hydrogen is stored on board in 350 bar compressed cylinders and carriers 20kg of hydrogen when full.

    Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid Bus

    The FINANCIAL – 7 May 2009

    The new Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid bus will have its world premiere from 7 to 11 June at the UITP Congress in Vienna (the World Congress of the International Association of Public Transport).

    This fuel cell hybrid bus has been developed within the context of the global “Shaping Future Transportation” initiative and is the first representative of the new generation of fuel cell models from Daimler Buses. The outstanding characteristic of the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is its comprehensive environmental friendliness: it emits no pollutants whatsoever while running and is also virtually silent. It is therefore exceptionally well suited to operation in heavily polluted city centres and in metropolitan areas. The Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is the next logical step on the path to zero-emission public transport, which Daimler had already announced it would take, and thus represents an important element in the development of the mobility solutions of the future.

    Linear development from NEBUS to the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid

    Daimler Buses has taken a linear approach to developing this technology: the process started in 1997 with the NEBUS research vehicle – the world’s first bus to be equipped with a fuel cell drive system – and has continued via the recently launched Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid with a diesel-electric hybrid drive. The latest development for 2009 is the new Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid. Starting in the autumn, Mercedes-Benz Buses will subject this bus to intensive testing in a large-scale fleet test in several European cities. This test will be conducted along the same lines as the successful CUTE test carried out by the European Union between 2003 and 2006. Since 2003, a total of 36 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses equipped with fuel cell drives have performed outstandingly well in service with 12 public transport operators on three continents as part of the CUTE test, its HyFLEET:CUTE follow-up project and other related testing programmes. In covering a combined total of more than two million kilometres in some 135,000 hours of operation, the buses have impressively demonstrated the suitability of the environment-friendly fuel cell drive for everyday practical use.

    Components from the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid

    The new Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid draws on the experience gained with the outstanding performance of the 36 fuel cell test buses. The enhanced fuel-cell system is complemented by an all-new drive system developed in synergy with the Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid. Shared components here include axles fitted with electric hub motors, lithium-ion batteries to store energy, and all electrically powered ancillary components. The entire drive system is designed for the greatest possible efficiency. Thanks to regenerative braking – that is to say, the recovery of braking energy – the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is able to achieve hydrogen savings of between 10 and 25 percent, depending on the traffic conditions and topography.

    The Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid is based on the proven platform of the top-selling Mercedes-Benz Citaro urban bus and features fuel cells powered by hydrogen. Compared with previous fuel cell buses, the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid will consume much less hydrogen thanks to a hybrid drive with a sophisticated control unit. The model thus offers major benefits in terms of resource conservation and reduction of emissions associated with producing the required hydrogen.