Buses converted to fuel cells

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Engineers from Britain and China are collaborating on a project in Sunderland to convert two buses to a fuel-cell, battery and capacitor combination.

Sunderland University has joined forces with Shanghai’s Shen Li High Technology and local experts ComeSys Europe and AVID vehicles to create ECO2Trans, a project to convert two buses to a fuel-cell, battery and capacitor combination.

One North East has sponsored the £314,000 project to convert the two Gulliver U500EUK buses using expertise from companies in China, Germany and the UK.

Sunderland’s team is led by Dirk Kok and Adrian Morris from the Institute of Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP), who last year adapted a Nissan Almera to run on hydrogen.

The aim of ECO2Trans, said Kok, is to educate people about the possibilities of hydrogen as a fuel, by demonstrating the efficiency of fuel cells. Sunderland University is also looking to develop the next generation of engineers and technicians to work on low-carbon transport platforms.

‘The visitors from Shen Li were here to help us understand the fuel-cell operation, train us in its use and to help mount the fuel cell in the buses,' said Kok. ‘Now we want to get one fully driving and one will be completely revamped with a new motor and electrics.

‘These vehicles will act as a test bed to evaluate novel hydrogen technologies in vehicles and will enhance the region’s status as an important automotive research and development centre.’