Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-1172

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses: Modelling and Analysing Suitability from an Operational and Environmental Perspective 2020-01-1172

In response to the need to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the current trend in the transport sector is a greater focus on alternative powertrains. More recent air quality concerns have seen controlled zero emission zones within urban areas. As a result, there is growing interest in hydrogen fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs) as a zero local emission vehicle with superior range, operational flexibility and refuelling time than other clean alternatives e.g. battery electric buses (BEBs). This paper details the performance and suitability analysis of a proposed Wrightbus FCEB, using a quasistatic backwards-facing Simulink powertrain model. The model is validated against existing prototype vehicle data (Mk1), allowing it to be further leveraged for predictions of an advanced future production vehicle (Mk2) with next generation motors and fuel cell stack. The modelled outputs are used for a comparison of the FCEB performance to an equivalent BEB on industry standard drive cycles, as well as several real bus routes generated through data logging activities. The suitability of FCEB vs BEB from an operator usage perspective is thus analysed in different use cases, with case studies from the UK and Chile. Both single-deck and double-deck vehicle types are considered. Modelled FCEB and BEB outputs are further utilised in a comparative well-to-wheel assessment, highlighting that the relative suitability of each from an environmental perspective is sensitive to geographical and fuel production method pathways. The paper concludes with a discussion of the environmental and societal benefits of deploying hydrogen buses to reduce local health damaging pollutants and alleviate energy security concerns via the introduction of a feasible and sustainable transport alternative.


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