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The pressure is on to find ever more green and sustainable solutions for the future and transport is a key area. With UK governments of various persuasions publicly pronouncing objectives to reduce overall road congestion and encourage more people to leave their cars at home, public transport, including busy inner-city-based bus networks, will become increasingly important as a route to less congested roads and decreased carbon footprints, according to Mick Jones of Siemens Industrial Automation and Drives.

It is estimated that in the UK some 4.8 billion journeys were undertaken on buses or light rail in 2008–09 and, with 60 per cent of all public-transport journeys made by bus, it is clear that the local bus network is the transport method of choice for large swathes of the UK population. It is a number expected to continue to rise as, for example, the costs of owning and running a car continue to escalate.

With a large and growing demand for bus transport, particularly in our congested cities, likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, the attention of bus manufacturers and operators as well as local authorities has turned to ensuring that such transport methods utilise technology to make sure that the huge numbers of journeys that take place every day are undertaken as operationally efficiently as possible. This is pertinent at present as operators battle the continuing escalation in diesel prices. Such price hikes are putting real pressure on bus companies’ operating margins and bottom-line profitability.

This is where a new generation of hybrid-drive systems could make a real impact in a number of key areas, including assisting city bus companies in keeping their operating costs as low as possible, helping them to achieve reliability in operation, maximising passenger comfort and reducing the impact on the environment through significantly lower exhaust emissions.

Hybrid-drive systems, which include the innovative new-generation ELFA traction system developed by Siemens, concentrate on the capture, storage and reuse of braking energy in the typical ’stop/start’ motions undertaken by buses. This helps to reduce overall energy consumption and, ultimately, operating costs.

The escalation in diesel prices is putting pressure on bus companies’ operating margins and profitability

Contrary to conventional bus-drive systems where energy on braking is simply lost, in new hybrid-drive systems the energy created in braking manoeuvres is converted back into electrical energy by the regenerative operation of the traction motor, which feeds the energy into an energy-storage device for use when accelerating. Adopting this approach creates an enormous energy yield – particularly for inner-city bus operations that are continually subjected to braking and accelerating actions.

Experience in terms of potential fuel savings after employing the technology has seen up to 40 per cent savings in terms of energy consumption. Such reductions can play a real part in increasing overall operational efficiencies for local government, city planners and bus operators – the stakeholders that have to meet the growing public demand for more efficient and greener transport solutions in major city conurbations across the UK.

City buses equipped with ELFA traction hybrid-drive systems are significantly more efficient and comfortable when compared with conventional buses. Such systems combine mobile energy generators – such as diesel generator sets and fuel cells with high-performance energy-storage devices. They allow the energy that is released when braking to be harnessed and stored. The diesel-electric hybrid concept provides real advantages with the engine driving the generator, which, in turn, supplies energy to an electric traction motor using state-of-the-art power electronics in the form of a drive converter.

The stored braking energy is reused when the bus starts moving again. Depending upon the storage capacity of the system, the bus can also be driven purely electrically, resulting in the complete removal of any exhaust emissions. This provides a tangible solution if, for instance, the bus routes are in environmentally sensitive inner-city zones and at bus stops. A diesel engine can be operated at a speed independent of the bus speed, meaning that it can always be operated in a range that has the most favourable fuel consumption.

As a result of this technology, not only will energy-consumption issues be addressed, but other sustainable concerns will be tackled. These will include a marked reduction in CO2 emissions as a result of the bus fleets’ operation. This will help many cities, in particular, to meet the ever more stringent environmental targets.

As a result of this technology, energy consumption issues and sustainability concerns will be addressed

In addition to bus operation, the technology advantages provided by hybrid-drive systems make them suitable for similar applications such as diesel-electric or all-electric delivery fleets in heavy-traffic areas where ’stop/start’ operations are predominant, as well as refuge trucks and marina drives — particularly on luxury yachts. All can benefit from this technology. The existing popularity of hybrid-drive technology on bus routes is clear and it is employed on many US cities’ bus fleets. In the UK, as bus operators and local municipal management teams undertake the replacement of up to 2,000 buses per annum, the proven efficiency and environmental benefit of this technology is starting to be realised.

Indeed, a recent announcement by Transport for London that the buses set to replace the iconic Routemaster buses in 2011 will incorporate hybrid-drive technology means that the fleet will deliver exceptional fuel efficiencies and help to further tackle local pollution issues for one of the world’s greatest locations.

Supported by the government’s Green Bus Fund, other major UK cities are also introducing this technology, which can support inter-linked requirements ranging from a robust public-transport method that markedly reduces reliance on high fuel usage for bus operators to systems that help to alleviate bus fleets’ impact on the local environment.

Hybrid-drive technology used on busy bus fleets is set to underpin and drive forward the growing propensity of UK cities to secure a fuel-efficient and green solution for heavily used public-transport methods, as well as offer a proven technology solution for many other ’stop/start’ transport applications of the future.

Hybrid-drive systems could help city bus companies to keep costs and emissions low

The pressure is on to find ever more green and sustainable solutions for the future and transport is a key area. With UK governments of various persuasions publicly pronouncing objectives to reduce overall road congestion and encourage more people to leave their cars at home, public transport, including busy inner-city-based bus networks, will become increasingly important as a route to less congested roads and decreased carbon footprints, according to Mick Jones of Siemens Industrial Automation and Drives.

It is estimated that in the UK some 4.8 billion journeys were undertaken on buses or light rail in 2008–09 and, with 60 per cent of all public-transport journeys made by bus, it is clear that the local bus network is the transport method of choice for large swathes of the UK population. It is a number expected to continue to rise as, for example, the costs of owning and running a car continue to escalate.

With a large and growing demand for bus transport, particularly in our congested cities, likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future, the attention of bus manufacturers and operators as well as local authorities has turned to ensuring that such transport methods utilise technology to make sure that the huge numbers of journeys that take place every day are undertaken as operationally efficiently as possible. This is pertinent at present as operators battle the continuing escalation in diesel prices. Such price hikes are putting real pressure on bus companies’ operating margins and bottom-line profitability.

This is where a new generation of hybrid-drive systems could make a real impact in a number of key areas, including assisting city bus companies in keeping their operating costs as low as possible, helping them to achieve reliability in operation, maximising passenger comfort and reducing the impact on the environment through significantly lower exhaust emissions.

Hybrid-drive systems, which include the innovative new-generation ELFA traction system developed by Siemens, concentrate on the capture, storage and reuse of braking energy in the typical ’stop/start’ motions undertaken by buses. This helps to reduce overall energy consumption and, ultimately, operating costs.

The escalation in diesel prices is putting pressure on bus companies’ operating margins and profitability

Contrary to conventional bus-drive systems where energy on braking is simply lost, in new hybrid-drive systems the energy created in braking manoeuvres is converted back into electrical energy by the regenerative operation of the traction motor, which feeds the energy into an energy-storage device for use when accelerating. Adopting this approach creates an enormous energy yield – particularly for inner-city bus operations that are continually subjected to braking and accelerating actions.

Experience in terms of potential fuel savings after employing the technology has seen up to 40 per cent savings in terms of energy consumption. Such reductions can play a real part in increasing overall operational efficiencies for local government, city planners and bus operators – the stakeholders that have to meet the growing public demand for more efficient and greener transport solutions in major city conurbations across the UK.

City buses equipped with ELFA traction hybrid-drive systems are significantly more efficient and comfortable when compared with conventional buses. Such systems combine mobile energy generators – such as diesel generator sets and fuel cells with high-performance energy-storage devices. They allow the energy that is released when braking to be harnessed and stored. The diesel-electric hybrid concept provides real advantages with the engine driving the generator, which, in turn, supplies energy to an electric traction motor using state-of-the-art power electronics in the form of a drive converter.

The stored braking energy is reused when the bus starts moving again. Depending upon the storage capacity of the system, the bus can also be driven purely electrically, resulting in the complete removal of any exhaust emissions. This provides a tangible solution if, for instance, the bus routes are in environmentally sensitive inner-city zones and at bus stops. A diesel engine can be operated at a speed independent of the bus speed, meaning that it can always be operated in a range that has the most favourable fuel consumption.

As a result of this technology, not only will energy-consumption issues be addressed, but other sustainable concerns will be tackled. These will include a marked reduction in CO2 emissions as a result of the bus fleets’ operation. This will help many cities, in particular, to meet the ever more stringent environmental targets.

As a result of this technology, energy consumption issues and sustainability concerns will be addressed

In addition to bus operation, the technology advantages provided by hybrid-drive systems make them suitable for similar applications such as diesel-electric or all-electric delivery fleets in heavy-traffic areas where ’stop/start’ operations are predominant, as well as refuge trucks and marina drives — particularly on luxury yachts. All can benefit from this technology. The existing popularity of hybrid-drive technology on bus routes is clear and it is employed on many US cities’ bus fleets. In the UK, as bus operators and local municipal management teams undertake the replacement of up to 2,000 buses per annum, the proven efficiency and environmental benefit of this technology is starting to be realised.

Indeed, a recent announcement by Transport for London that the buses set to replace the iconic Routemaster buses in 2011 will incorporate hybrid-drive technology means that the fleet will deliver exceptional fuel efficiencies and help to further tackle local pollution issues for one of the world’s greatest locations.

Supported by the government’s Green Bus Fund, other major UK cities are also introducing this technology, which can support inter-linked requirements ranging from a robust public-transport method that markedly reduces reliance on high fuel usage for bus operators to systems that help to alleviate bus fleets’ impact on the local environment.

Hybrid-drive technology used on busy bus fleets is set to underpin and drive forward the growing propensity of UK cities to secure a fuel-efficient and green solution for heavily used public-transport methods, as well as offer a proven technology solution for many other ’stop/start’ transport applications of the future.

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