22 January 2014
Wirelessly charged buses run demanding route in Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes, UK, has launched an innovative pilot with wirelessly charging electric buses on 19 January 2014. Its organisers claim the programme to be ‘the world’s most demanding electric bus route’. Eight electric buses now serve a busy route that is even challenging for diesel buses: running 17 hours a day, seven days a week, with each bus covering over 90,000 kilometres per year.
Wireless charging plates in the road transfer power to the receiving plates underneath the bus. Within 10 minutes during driver breaks, a bus parked over a charging point will replenish two-thirds of the energy consumed on its 24-kilometre route between the suburbs of Wolverton and Bletchley. Only two charging points are needed to service the eight buses. In addition, the buses are charged over night at the depot. A video of the inductive charging technique is available on the BBC.
The pilot aims to prove that low-carbon transport can be a cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional diesel and petrol vehicles. The electric buses are expected to reduce air pollution of particulates and noxious tailpipe emissions by approximately five tonnes, and decrease CO₂ emissions by 270 tonnes a year. As the UK electricity supply becomes greener, the buses could potentially save as much as 680 tonnes of CO₂ a year. The developers also believe that the technology could reduce the running costs of the buses by between € 14,600 and € 18,300 a year.
The 5-year trial is undertaken by a partnership of private companies with support from Milton Keynes Borough Council and the UK Department for Transport. The data collected during the trial could be used to kick-start electric bus routes in other places. While the buses are the first of their kind to operate in the UK, similar systems are used in other European cities such as Turin and Genoa in Italy, Braunschweig and Mannheim in Germany, and Utrecht in the Netherlands.
15 January 2014
Italy provides incentives for bio-methane
Italy wants to promote the production and use of bio-methane as a transport fuel. New legislation aims for a large market uptake of this alternative fuel and opens up new opportunities for Italian farmers.
On 5 December 2013, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry have issued a decree that provides incentives and sets out regulations for the production and use of bio-methane.
It establishes an incentives system and encourages farmers to set up their own plants to make bio-methane available for vehicle propulsion.
So far, Italy has remained behind its potential in the exploitation of biomass. Italy is among the biggest biogas producers worldwide and can draw on a highly developed natural gas network.
The new legislation is hoped to unleash the potential of bio-methane in Italy.
Representatives of alternative fuels associations expect that the new legislation could contribute to the production of as much as 2.5 billion m3 for the transport sector, decreasing the amount of imported biofuel, while bringing about economic and environmental benefits.
8 January 2014
Breda to be first European city with electric buses only
The Dutch Municipality of Breda is set to be the first European city with a public bus fleet comprised of electric vehicles only. By 2015, there will be a total of 34 electric buses, according to the province of North Brabant.
In the past year, Breda has already trialed several electric buses. The results were so positive that the city decided to only allow electric city buses to run in the city from 2015.
The electric buses will make an important contribution to Breda’s goal to become CO₂-neutral by 2044.
Sources: bndestem.nl & bredavandaag.nl