The High V.LO-City project follows a comprehensive set of key actions to achieve the various objectives of the project. Actions 1 and 2 will run in parallel and feed into action 3 to leverage the experiences in the three project sites in an optimized dissemination and engagement action that links with past and potential fuel cell bus demonstration locations.

Action 1: Integrate a new generation of highly efficient FCH buses in existing public transport fleets.
From a technology perspective, the project will build on the experiences from two generations of Van Hool hybrid vehicles (in US and Europe) and will allow a detailed comparison (fuel efficiency, noise, operating range, maintenance etc.) between the second and third generation as well as with other newly developed 1st generation competitive hybrid fuel cell buses, while at the same time showing the convergence of technology in preparation for a commercialization phase.
High V.LO-City will operate 15 III Generation of Hybrid fuel cell buses (Van Hool) in three different public transport fleets in three different climate zones and under various environmental and bus route conditions. The buses will be serviced by three new maintenance and hydrogen refuelling and infrastructures embedded in existing fuelling operations.
High V.LO-City FCH buses will be characterized by two axles, energy storage tanks allowing a full day service bus operation, remote diagnosis (to enhance bus availability) and the latest in fuel cell motor electric drive, offering improved noise reduction, increased lifetime and lower maintenance cost.
The major environmental and energy efficient targets to be reached by the III Generation Hybrid fuel cell buses within this project are the following:

  • Zero local/tailpipe Emissions
  • Reduction of at least 60% well-to-wheel emissions (within reasonable life cycle cost data) when comparing to the HyFleet:CUTE emissions levels by reducing fuel consumption through hybridization and of at least 60% compared to diesel and more by using both residual hydrogen, as a waste product from existing industrial activities, and renewable energy sources such as solar energy (in combination with electrolysis technology);
  • Lower noise emissions, especially thanks to purely electric departure from stops.
  • Increase of 60% of fuel efficiency (and therefore operating range) compared to non-hybrid drives, thanks to hybridization and regenerative braking; regenerative breaking accounts for about 15% of the fuel efficiency because the brake energy is almost completely re-used, stored in the batteries, or break resistor as back-up , which energy can be used for heating purposes, thereby maximizing the total energy efficiency.

The High V.LO-City fuel cell bus operations in the three project sites will be covered by Work Package 3. The technical aspects will be complemented with an analysis of potential needs for improvements with regards to fuel cell materials, components and degradation aspects to facilitate new innovations. This analysis will be shared with relevant JTI projects in a dedicated workshop at the end of the project. In view of the EU Directive on the promotion of clean and energy efficient road transport a Life Cycle Costs assessment will be conducted in WP4.. Other socio-economic aspects related to bus operations, as the development of training modules for involved drivers and technicians and a passenger survey and engagement plan will be dealt with in Work Package 4 and 5.

Action 2: Implementation of modular hydrogen infrastructures build up linked to innovative hydrogen production solutions:
Building on experiences from previous fuel cell bus demonstration projects this action will focus on a more flexible and modular approach to infrastructure development. In addition, the project will deploy economic and sustainable sources of hydrogen as well as establish comprehensive hydrogen distribution logistics. The hydrogen infrastructure and refuelling activities will be addressed within Work Package 2:

  • In the Flanders Region Demonstration, High V.LO-City will upgrade the existing refuelling station. The H2 will be produced using “Residual Hydrogen” as a waste product from existing industrial activities in the SOLVAY Antwerp plant.
  • In the Liguria Region Demonstration, High V.LO-City will produce H2 using 100% clean energy source, using solar energy with electrolysis technology, following the successful experiment of AC Transit in California.
  • In the Scandinavian Demonstration site, High V.LO-City will upgrade and expand the existing refuelling stations. Oslo/Malmo will extend the capacity of the current hydrogen station to make from 340 kg to 570 kg. At the same time it will increase the capabilities of fast fuelling in a way that every bus is able to refuel in less than 10 minutes. Oslo will also increase the number of fuelling sites from one to two, making it possible for two buses to refuel at the same time.

The new infrastructures, as well as the ones upgraded, will ensure daily fuelling process of 5 buses each, with a capacity of 300 kg H2/day and with a refuelling speed comparable with similar methane refuelling station (10-15 minutes/bus).

Action 3: Extend and consolidate the experiences of existing JTI demonstration sites and facilitate further market roll-out in Europe
The High V.LO-City Project involves three regions that run from Northern to Southern Europe, in highly populated and environmentally sensitive areas. The local transport authorities in all three areas have made an educated choice to integrate FCH buses based on specific requirements that could serve as models for other regions.

  • In the Region of Flanders local PT Operator, “De Lijn”, is looking at expanding its “green” policy after being the first to introduce a series of 80 hybrid diesel-electric buses in its fleet (serving the cities of Gant, Antwerp, Brugge and Leuven) in Belgium. They successfully tested the second generation hybrid fuel cell buses and are looking forward to put the third generation in regular service. The Region of Flanders links with previous CUTE project sites in London and Amsterdam and with North Rhine Westphalia, where Cologne Municipality is integrating two 18m fuel cell buses.
  • In the Liguria Region – in the North-West of Italy – the local PT Operator Riviera Trasporti, with operations in Liguria and Piedmont seeks to replace a zero tailpipe emission system of trolleybuses, that will be too expensive to maintain and to expand in the future, by FCHbuses – as an economic and environmental alternative. The Liguria Region is linked to regions in Northern Italy that already have committed budgets to the introduction of FCH buses: Piedmont, Lombardy, Trento and Bolzano. Thanks to the proximity of France, the Liguria Region is also able to provide a potential bridge with Nice and Monaco that have expressed serious interest in fuel cell bus operations in the past as well as with Grenoble, one of the most active hydrogen and fuel cell development areas in France,
  • The city of Oslo, in Norway, is collaborating since several years with other Scandinavian regions like Malmö in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark, in building a Hydrogen HyWay (HyNOR), and more recently in the first JTI demo project, H2Moves Scandinavia.

Based on the experience of Van Hool in the USA, this project will also establish a closer cooperation between USA (the National Fuel Cell Bus Program) and EU activities regarding fuel cell buses for public transport.
Because of their strategic location, the High V.LO-City sites over the course of the project will facilitate the creation of a network Clean Hydrogen Bus Centres of Excellence, linking FCH bus demonstration sites across Europe. The centres will serve as one-stop information centres for public transport authorities, disseminating information on:

  • Best practice in FCH bus integration;
  • Comprehensive authorisation procedures;
  • Effective Tax and Market incentives;
  • Realistic financing schemes.


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