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Transport Benevolent Fund - 2019
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December 03 2018
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

ADL reveals hydrogen fuel-cell
‘decker after secret trials

Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) is adding hydrogen fuel-cell buses to what it says is the UK market’s widest range of low and zero emission buses.

Order book ‘now open’ and fleet trials sought after two years of secret development. Picture: Andrew Macintosh

It follows Wrightbus in offering a hydrogen fuel-cell ‘decker to the UK market.

The technology, which requires hydrogen fuelling infrastructure, could offer range benefits over electric buses, thanks to their long-range zero emission capability, using sustainably sourced hydrogen.

This already happens in Aberdeen where electricity from wind turbines is used to create hydrogen for the city’s single-decker fuel cell fleet.

ADL says its prototype, developed on an Enviro400 double decker, has delivered “best-in-class performance during route shadowing trials.”

To explore the potential for this technology, ADL has revealed that it has been working on a hydrogen fuel cell double-deck bus for “over two years”, although has remained tight-lipped about it until now.

The hydrogen Enviro400 has an electric driveline with axle-mounted motors. The on-board battery is charged by electricity produced by the fuel cell. No external battery charging is required and the vehicle’s only emission is water vapour.

A prototype bus has been through several design iterations to optimise performance and ensure highest standards of regulatory and safety compliance, says ADL.

The prototype has successfully completed low-profile route shadowing trials in several UK cities, delivering what ADL believes to be the highest efficiency and lowest fuel cost in its class.

Operators supporting the route shadowing trials are said to have commented positively on the performance achieved.

The bus has been developed through collaboration between ADL’s in-house Advanced Engineering teams and expert hydrogen and UK-based fuel cell system integrators Arcola Energy.

ADL is now taking orders for this product and will be working with cities, operators and other stakeholders “to explore the potential for hydrogen fuel cell buses through fleet trials.”

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