Thursday, 13 June 2019

Solaris Presents World Premier of Solaris Urbino 12 Hydrogen Bus & Accepts First Order

Solaris showed two zero-emission vehicles at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2019 held in Stockholm

The Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen which was celebrating its world premiere. The second vehicle was the well-known Solaris Urbino 12 electric in its newest design, characteristic for all new vehicles from Solaris Bolechowo since January of this year.

Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen

Solaris was one of the first electric bus manufacturers to direct its research and development efforts towards electric drivelines. Nearly a decade after the première of its first e-bus, Solaris is now supplementing its zero-emission bus range with the Urbino 12 hydrogen in which hydrogen is transformed into electric energy directly fed into the driveline of the vehicle. Hydrogen technology used for power generation will enable buses to travel even longer distances completely emission-free.

Solaris believes that the development of all electromobility types, whether it's battery buses, trolleybuses or hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, should proceed in synergy, and that this process is indispensable to ensure sustainable transport of the future. Therefore, hydrogen-powered buses of Solaris will not constitute competition for battery buses or models of the Trollino series. These technologies will complement each other perfectly and they will all benefit from the technological progress of electric drivelines and their components.

The advantages of hydrogen as an energy source are indisputable. Hydrogen can be produced from water in the electrolysis process, giving a really clean source of energy. It is also a perfect solution for operators who have access to hydrogen derived from renewable sources, or from the industrial processes. Using reverse electrolysis, hydrogen fuel cells are relatively small in size and they generate energy during the operation of the vehicle. That is why they are an ideal solution when a long drive range has to be ensured. Hydrogen refilling takes little time and is quite convenient, similar to refilling a vehicle with petrol or diesel.

Solaris gained its first experience in hydrogen when it designed battery vehicles using fuel cells as range extenders. As part of the JIVE initiative, Solaris has supplied two Urbino 18.75 electric to Hamburg and 10 trolleybuses with hydrogen-based range extenders to Riga. 
Now, the manufacturer has taken its next steps towards progress, presenting at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Stockholm the Urbino 12 hydrogen, a completely emission-free electric bus.

The electric Urbino 12 hydrogen is fitted with a cutting-edge fuel cell that acts as a miniature hydrogen power plant on board of the vehicle. Thanks to the use of advanced technology, the bus will be capable of covering up to 350 km on a single refill. In a hydrogen fuel cell electric power is generated in a process called reverse electrolysis and then passed on directly to the driveline. The sole products of the chemical reaction occurring in the fuel cell are heat and steam. Consequently, the vehicle does not generate any noxious substances whatsoever.

A set of 60 kW fuel cells is used in the Solaris hydrogen bus. The hydrogen system also contains auxiliary devices, for the re-circulation of the resource that has not been used up, and also for maintaining a proper and stable temperature of the fuel cells during operation.

The novelty of Solaris’ portfolio will be also fitted with a small Solaris High Power traction battery which is to support the fuel cell whenever the demand for energy is the highest. The battery is filled with energy derived from hydrogen and through the regenerative braking, though it is also possible to recharge it by means of a plug-in socket. Complementing the driveline is an axle with integrated electric motors.

The Urbino 12 hydrogen features cutting-edge solutions for storage of hydrogen. The chemical element is compressed in gaseous form at a pressure of 350 atmospheres into 5 new-generation tanks placed alongside the bus roof. Thanks to the use of type-4 hydrogen tanks, Solaris engineers managed to reduce the mass of the cyllinders by 20% compared to the parameters of the previous model. The composite tanks, placed longitudinally above the first axle of the vehicle, allows for a hydrogen storage capacity of 36.8 kg. A multifunctional valve is installed at the end of each tank; this valve includes a range of safety elements: a solenoid valve, an emergency valve activated by high temperature and an overload valve cutting off the flow of hydrogen in case of loss of containment of the system.

In order to reduce energy use to a maximum, the vehicle will feature a climate comfort system with a CO₂ heat pump that allows to use waste heat from the fuel cell. This solution guarantees very high efficiency and allows to increase the drive range of the vehicle even more.

First orders

The Italian city of Bolzano is first to order Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen buses.

– Bolzano invests strongly in modern and clean public transport. Solaris will now be a part of it delivering its newest zero-emission technologies. SASA in Bolzano already operates Urbino electric buses. Now Solaris and Bolzano go hydrogen – said Petros Spinaris, Deputy CEO of Solaris Bus & Coach S.A.

The contract includes an 8 year-long service and maintenance package. Part of the contract is also a special drivers’ and workshop personnel’s training emphasising the safety aspects of using and servicing hydrogen vehicles.

Paris Agreement

During the UITP Global Public Transport Summit, representatives of Solaris and Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) signed a contract for lease and tests of the Urbino 12 hydrogen. The operator responsible for public transport in Paris for 10 weeks (April-June 2020) will test the Solaris hydrogen bus in regular passenger traffic. This is another step made by RATP in the preparations for transforming its fleet to completely zero emissions vehicles.

In May RATP also signed a contract with Solaris for delivery of the Solaris Urbino 8.9 LE electric with the option of extending the order for another e-buses with a total value of 10 million euros.

Solaris Urbino 12 electric and e-mobility

In barely eight years since the début of its first electric bus, Solaris has delivered or received orders for nearly 600 vehicles from customers in seventeen countries. At the UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2019, the Polish producer is showing zero-emission vehicles that draw from the experience of over 15 million kilometers covered by its buses. The latest technological solutions regarding heating, cooling and the steering system were designed to help reduce energy consumption.

The drive unit of the Solaris Urbino 12 electric presented at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2019 consists of two electric engines with a peak performance of 125 kW each, installed in the drive axle. 

The energy needed to propel the two units is stored in Solaris High Energy batteries with a total capacity of 240 kWh. The vehicle version presented at the trade fair can be charged using a stationary external charger or a (34kW) onboard charger without the need to install additional infrastructure. The bus on display seats 28 passengers of which 12 are accessible from the low floor.

The Solaris Urbino 12 electric bus was nominated ''the city bus of the year in the “Bus of the Year 2017” contest.