Busworld Kortrijk is an international bus and coach fair, which is taking place from 18 to 23 october in Kortrijk. On 18 October, Busworld foundation successfully launched the “Busworld Academy”. The Academy aims at sharing bus and coach related knowledge about all aspects of the industry, including companies, technological developments to enhance sustainable mobility, legislation, markets and other specific topics, such as coach tourism.

Last Friday, in the morning, bus stakeholders presented their solutions for better and cleaner bus fleets at the sustainability workshop organised by HyER. While there was among them  no consensus on which clean technology is the best (between battery, fuel cell, CNg etc.) for the bus of the future, all agreed on the need for cleaner bus fleets today, especially taking into account that a bus fleet has a lifetime of minimum a decade.

Mr Jenné, managing director of Van Hool, showed the wide range of clean buses that Van Hool is operating: from trolleybuses to fuel cell buses. He highlighted the High-VLO.City project, which aims at deploying a fuel cell buses fleet in 3 European regions, a project co-funded by the FCH-JU. Van Hool fuel cell bus received the ECW ecology label bus 2013 for its fuel cell bus (more information to come in a next article).

The workshop continued in the afternoon with a panel discussion among local operators experimenting different transport solutions: fuel cell buses, but also diesel hybrid and biogas. Two High V.LO-City locations were represented with Mr Spitaels from De Lijn (Flanders, Belgium) and Mr Corrado from Riviera Trasporti (Liguria, Italy), who outlined their motivation to participate in the project and informed the audience on the state of play: The buses have arrived in both locations and will start operating beginning of next year. In the third High V.LO-City location,  Aberdeen, the buses will arrive early 2014. Mr Scheerders from Zuid Holland reminded about the potential of hydrogen:   there is an excess of hydrogen available in his region, namely produced through wind energy. Mr Hendrick from KVG/ARGB  gave the example of Sweden, which has a fleet of 6,000 CNG buses, cars and trucks. A discussion followed questioning the use of biogas

One of the aim of the High V.LO-City project is to raise the awareness on fuel cell buses deployment towards potentially interested local public authorities. The so-called “centres of excellence”, which will be developed as part of the project, will serve as a one-stop info point for potentially interested transport authorities to receive information on the integration of hydrogen buses in public fleets.  At the workshop, Ms Reijalt from HyER, annnounced that De Lijn had agreed with the concept and hence that the centres of excellence will be launched soon.

The workshop also had an international flavour: Mr Achterlik from the Californian Air Resources BoardCalifornian shared the Californian experience with a current fleet of 12 fuel cell buses, the next step being the commercialization of Zero Emission Buses. Mr Sacremento, from Colombia, presented the ‘transmilenio’, a massive bus system in the city of Bogota: a bus fleet  carries 2 millions passengers per day and hence has the capacity of a metro system (with articulated bsues and feeder buses).  The company “transmilenio” received the Busworld prize “lifetime achivement”.

Last but two least, the workshop received two clear statements towards clean transport solutions in bus ad coach fleets:

– Fact-based development: At Busworld in 2011, only 6 electric buses were presented;  at the 2013 edition, each operator presents a clean bus on its booth!

– Political support: Ms Crevits, the minister for mobility and transport in the Flemish region outlined the region’s committment for better and cleaner transport. She named the High-VLO.City project as one of the good practices examples that the region is supporting.

The busworld academy was a premiere, HyER as a partner, is looking forward to the next developments!

Pictures of the speakers of the HyER sustainability seminar and of the afternoon’s session.

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HyER sustainability seminar on Friday morning: a few statements from some of the  panellists:

For Mr Smith from IRU (Internation association of road transport – bus operators) ,  funding support is key before having a mature technology that can be integrated in operators’ business plans.

Mr Guida from UITP (International Association of Public Transport) stated that standardistion of charging infrastructure is important but that we are at a too early stage to set up standards. He reminded about the link between European projects and European legislation, the ZEUS project of electric buses having just being approved, in line with the clean alternative for transport directive.

Mr Jenné from van Hool: ” we should not penalise the operators who  would like to take the lead in clean technologies. Thats’s the case for the moment”.

Mr Bouwan from APTS/Phileas: The energy storage technologies are changing rapidly. There is no comparison between a Fuel Cell and a Battery Li-ion, just the charging time: FC: 5 min charging; Battery Li-ion: 200 min. charging!

The presentations can be downloaded here.

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