Dutch manufacturer teams up with university students to develop new fuel
HOLLAND VDL Bus & Coach and Team FAST will collaborate on the development of the world’s first bus that runs on formic acid.
Team FAST, a group of students from Eindhoven University of Technology, presented a model car that runs on formic acid in January 2106. “We have liquefied electricity,” said Tim van Lohuizen of Team FAST. “And we look forward to the challenge of further developing our system for use in buses with VDL Bus & Coach.”
“We are consistently looking for new technologies that make it easier to extend the range of zero emission transportation,” said Menno Kleingeld, Managing Director of VDL Enabling Transport Solutions (VDL ETS). “The conversion of formic acid to hydrogen is one of these promising new technologies. VDL ETS focuses on the strategic importance of e-mobility and carries out all pre-development projects in the area of innovative transport solutions within VDL Groep.”
Formic acid, or methanoic acid, is a chemical substance that also occurs in nature. As a chemical product it is used for various applications. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have discovered a way to quickly and efficiently transform hydrogen into liquid formic acid and back again into hydrogen. Formic acid as a liquid energy carrier can be stored and transported much more easily. Existing filling stations can be used for the energy supply, because a bus that runs on formic acid does not need to be recharged but rather fills up like it was a diesel. This means no emission of harmful gases and a much greater range than what is currently common for vehicles with alternative powertrains.
The vehicle that will become the world’s first formic acid-powered bus during 2016 is a 12-metre Citea Electric. The modular construction of the Citea range makes it possible to choose from various electric drive systems, battery packs and charging systems so that the best combination can be selected. The modular design also facilitates the necessary adaptations for driving on formic acid without any impact on accessibility or interior layout.
Team FAST consists of around 25 students and was formed in September 2015. Just four months later it presented the model car powered by formic acid. Because Team FAST strives for a sustainable world and truly wants to make a contribution, the decision was taken to enter into a partnership with VDL.