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Team FAST showcase "Hydrozine", a biofuel bridge to hydrogen and e-mobility

A student team from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Netherlands has unveiled the design of the world’s first system that allows a bus to drive on formic acid (CH2O2). Their self-built system comprises an electric bus that is hooked up to a small trailer in which formic acid is converted into electricity. The benefits of using formic acid are that it is sustainable, carbon dioxide (CO2) neutral, safe and liquid.

The 35 member strong Team FAST from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), the Netherlands recently showcased its formic acid based powertrain system for an electric bus (photo courtesy Bart van Overbeeke).

The 35 member strong Team FAST from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), the Netherlands recently showcased its formic acid based powertrain system for an electric bus (photo courtesy Bart van Overbeeke).

Team FAST, a student team from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), the Netherlands has unveiled the design of the world’s first system that allows a bus to drive on formic acid (CH2O2), the simplest. Their self-built system comprises an electric bus that is hooked up to a small trailer – dubbed ‘REX’ (range extender) – in which formic acid is converted into electricity.

The system was showcased at an event held July 7 at the VDMA premises in Eindhoven, at which Team FAST unveiled its unique system, presented the results achieved over the past year as well as handed the project over to the next student generation.

Multiple benefits

“Hydrozine” is the official name of the liquid energy carrier that is 99 percent formic acid with a performance enhancing agent. Furthermore, the 35 students strong Team FAST have been alone in developing the formic acid based fuel and powertrain. At the beginning of 2016, they presented an initial scale model that illustrated how it works. After another twenty months of hard work, they now have a system that is 42 000 times stronger and is capable of 25kW power.

The world's first filling station for "hydrozine", a novel formic acid-based biofuel that serves as liquid hydrogen storage and as Team FAST has demonstrated, could bridge the hydrogen storage e-mobility gap (photo courtesy Bart van Overbeeke).

The world’s first filling station for “hydrozine”, a novel formic acid-based biofuel that serves as liquid hydrogen storage and as Team FAST has demonstrated, could bridge the hydrogen storage e-mobility gap (photo courtesy Bart van Overbeeke).

According to Team FAST, the benefits of hydrozine are many. It is a cheap and safe alternative to the transport of hydrogen (H2) that normally requires large tanks and high pressure. The carbon dioxide (CO2) produced in splitting the hydrozine is also used in the production process, which results in zero net CO2 emissions. Furthermore, hydrozine has four times as much energy density as a battery and since it is a liquid, very few modifications will be required to the current infrastructure of filling stations.

REX – Range Expander

In the trailer, also designed and built by Team FAST, the hydrozine is split into hydrogen and CO2. The hydrogen is then used to produce electricity that powers an electric city bus of the Eindhoven company VDL. The team calls the trailer a ‘range extender’, REX, because the trailer expands the existing range of the bus as a standalone component.

The team is still running final tests with the aim of the bus operating by the end of this year. Together with partners from the whole production chain, Team FAST is looking to make hydrozine a safe, sustainable and standard energy carrier for the future.

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