The first tests with hydrogen fuel cell buses begin


Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture and the Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu) have reached an agreement to conduct the first real tests of a small fuel cell bus powered by hydrogen, a next-generation energy source that respects the environment. The real-world test will be conducted on the Hikoboshi BRT Line (officially “Hitahikosan BRT Line”), a bus rapid transit system scheduled for launch in summer 2023. After the test period, it is projected to can be put into operation by 2025 .

The small fuel cell bus is based on the Toyota Coaster, has 20 seats and can accommodate 14 people. It equips the second generation FC system of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle with exceptional environmental performance of zero CO2 emissions during operation.

Building on hydrogen’s image as an environmentally friendly energy, the style of the test vehicle reflects the blue sky that prevails over the entire Hikoboshi BRT line stretch. The use of a pattern representing Orihime’s kimono – one of the names of the star Vega and lover of Hikoboshi (the star Altair) according to Japanese legend – gives rise to a uniform and original style for all vehicles that will run in the BRT Hikoboshi -line.

This initiative will be the first practical application of the cooperation agreement between Fukuoka Prefecture and CJPT, signed on December 26 last year, to expand commercial fuel cell mobility and develop a sustainable hydrogen-based society, aiming for carbon neutrality. Fukuoka Prefecture and CJPT will partner with JR Kyushu to conduct trials, aiming to bring fuel cell mobility to local transportation.

The trials with this bus propose to advance the knowledge of hydrogen as an energy source for the future, thereby powering a local transport system that residents become familiar with, accompanied by sustainable growth throughout the region.

By confirming the feasibility of using fuel cell mobility, the trials increase local transportation options and help create a green transportation system.

At the same time, the firms Toyota, Isuzu, DENSO, Hino and CJPT have announced that they will work on hydrogen engines for heavy-duty vehicles, with the goal of continuing to use internal combustion engines as an option to achieve carbon neutrality.

On the road to carbon neutrality, there are several powertrain options to meet customer requirements, including Hybrid Electric (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), Battery Electric (BEV) and Fuel Cell Electric (FCEV), depending of the differences in energy conditions in the countries and the diversified use of those vehicles.

Hydrogen engines are also such an option. The hydrogen-powered Toyota Corolla has been competing in the Super Taikyu Series in Japan since May 2021. And hydrogen engine technology is evolving, with projects such as the experimental GR Yaris to be unveiled by Toyota in Europe in late 2021.

In addition, efforts to create a hydrogen society, Toyota’s longstanding commitment, are accelerating as the number of partners in hydrogen production, transportation and use increases.

Toyota believes that CO2 reduction in transport and logistics using heavy-duty vehicles, an important part of the infrastructure that supports people’s lives, is a societal issue that needs to be addressed with partners who share a common vision to create a … to achieve a carbon neutral society.

Isuzu, DENSO, Toyota, Hino and CJPT are convinced that hydrogen engines are a solution to this problem and will use the technologies and knowledge each company has built up to study the potential of hydrogen engines in heavy-duty vehicles.

The five companies will contribute to an even better society by expanding the possibilities to achieve CO2 neutrality.

Source: La Verdad


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