Further Progress with Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology
With limited oil supplies and rising energy prices, public awareness of new types of drive system, such as fuel cells, is growing. Against this background, the third general assembly of the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (HFP) in Brussels is focusing on current developments related to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
The European industry for hydrogen and fuel cell technology is aiming to establish a public-private partnership with the European Commission. This partnership, known as a Joint Technology Initiative (JTI), is intended to create a solid framework for efficient, coordinated demonstration projects and the research and development work that is required for the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles. DaimlerChrysler supports the establishment of a JTI and is a cosignatory of an industry declaration of intent to this effect. The declaration expresses the intention of the European industry to take an active part in the JTI in conjunction with the public sector. The HFP Advisory Council will play a key role in setting up the JTI. Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler, Vice President Group Research and Advanced Engineering Vehicle and Powertrain and DaimlerChrysler Chief Environmental Officer, has been appointed the Advisory Council Chairman with immediate effect.
In addition, a group of two oil companies and six automakers (including DaimlerChrysler) has drawn up a position paper containing specific proposals for the JTI’s activities and the necessary steps for building up a Europe-wide hydrogen infrastructure.
World’s most extensive testing for fuel cell vehicles
Two Mercedes-Benz Citaro fuel cell buses that are usually in everyday service in Luxembourg and Amsterdam respectively are now making their way from these cities to Brussels, equipped with just a single tank of hydrogen each, in order to demonstrate the practicability of the pioneering fuel cell technology to politicians, industry representatives and the general public. They will be used as shuttle buses between the conference center and the exhibition of the general assembly. To date, the fleet of 36 fuel cell buses has covered over 1.5 million kilometers in total; the fuel cell stacks have been in operation for more than 100,000 hours in all.
The fuel cell buses are part of the European hydrogen project HyFLEET:CUTE, which involves the operation of 47 hydrogen-powered buses in regular public transport service in ten cities on three continents. The aim of the project, which is funded by the European Union, is to develop and demonstrate advanced hydrogen drive concepts for city buses as well as technologies and processes for the production and distribution of sustainable supply pathways for hydrogen.
Alongside the buses, a number of Mercedes-Benz A-Class F-Cell cars are being used in Brussels to demonstrate the current state of development of fuel cell technology in passenger cars. A total of 60 A-Class F-Cells are now being driven by customers in Germany, Japan, Singapore and the U.S. To date they have covered a distance of over 870,000 kilometers, with a total operating time of more than 26,500 hours. At the exhibition, DaimlerChrysler is also presenting a cross-section model of a B-Class F-Cell that offers a glimpse ahead to the next generation of fuel cell fleets.
Fuel cell vehicles from DaimlerChrysler are in use worldwide as part of various cooperation and demonstration projects. Automakers, oil companies, energy providers, ministries, public authorities, universities and other scientific institutes have joined together in these demonstration projects to prepare the market for the forward-looking fuel cell and hydrogen technology. Key activities in this regard include setting up a hydrogen infrastructure and boosting the acceptance of hydrogen technology among drivers and passengers.