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FlixMobility aims to launch the first hydrogen-powered long-distance bus in 2024

FlixMobility, a leading tech-mobility company for sustainable and intermodal mobility, takes part in the recently started research project HyFleet together with its partners Freudenberg Fuel Cell e-Power Systems and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

FlixMobility aims to launch the first hydrogen-powered long-distance bus in 2024
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The project consortium recently received the official “UIA” (a non-binding letter of intent) confirmation by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. It focuses on the development of a high-performance fuel cell system for long-distance buses to bring sustainable and CO2-free mobility to life. Upon development of this technology, FlixMobility plans to test and launch fuel cell powered buses in long-distance traffic until 2024 in Europe to set new standards. The climate NGO atmosfair is involved as an associated partner and a European bus manufacturer will also join the project in the future.

André Schwämmlein, founder and CEO of FlixMobility: “We are proud to be part of the HyFleet project to develop the first fuel cell-powered long-distance bus in Europe until 2024 together with Freudenberg and ZF. Fuel cell power technology is part of the green mobility revolution and gives bus producers the chance to shape the future of sustainable mobility. With this project, we continue our path of providing millions of people sustainable and affordable mobility. We are fully in line with the carbon neutrality objective of the EU and Germany and are ready to deliver. It’s great to see that the German government acknowledges the need for the transport sector to speed up its decarbonization and is ready to support collective transport on this road.”

 Fuel Cell Module Bus HyFleet project - partner: Freudenberg Fuel Cell e-Power Systems, ZF Friedrichshafen AG
Fuel Cell Module Bus HyFleet project – partner: Freudenberg Fuel Cell e-Power Systems, ZF Friedrichshafen AG

Thanks to a modern fleet and the high capacity of FlixMobility, long-distance buses are already now one of the most environmentally friendly means of transportation available. Next to options for customers to compensate the CO2-emissions of their trip, FlixMobility successfully launched biogas-powered FlixBuses in July 2021, E-buses in France and Germany and a long-distance bus equipped with solar panels. Now, the company wants to take sustainable mobility a step further.

Welcome to the Future: FlixBus Focuses on Fuel Cell Power Technology

On average every travel on a long-distance bus of 400 km saves 6,6 kg of CO2 emissions per passenger by switching from cars to long-distance buses[1]. However, a practical solution for the completely carbon-neutral operation of long-distance bus fleets in regular service is still lacking. That’s the reason for the joint development of a revolutionary mobility solution by FlixMobility, Freudenberg Fuel Cell e-Power Systems and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

As a matter of fact, a passenger leads to emission of 26 grams carbon dioxide per driven kilometer. On a trip from Munich to Berlin, this would amount to approximately 15,6 kg CO2. Compared to a flight that causes roughly 143 kg CO2 equivalents[2] on the same trip, this is a very small amount. Far beyond that, FlixMobility expects the planned fuel cell coaches powered by green hydrogen to save 100% of our emissions resulting in 0 g CO2 equivalents.

While hydrogen-powered buses are already operating inner-city routes, solutions for hydrogen-coaches for long distances are still lacking due to the extremely demanding nature of long-distance bus operations: FlixBuses drive around 200.000 km yearly with distances up to more than 1.000 km per day with usually only short stops. Depending on the number of drivers involved during a trip the bus will legally have to take a break after 4,5 hours of driving, which is roughly reached after 450 km. For this reason, any diesel coach alternative should be able to perform at least 500 kilometers distance before refueling. Hydrogen offers great opportunities because it will be able to reach the required range or even more and refueling times will be as short as refueling Diesel buses. Thus, Diesel buses in the FlixBus fleet can be replaced with Fuel cell buses in the future.

In the first phase of the HyFleet project Freudenberg is developing a long-range fuel cell system that will be tested directly in a demonstrator coach. “We need solutions for long-distance,” Claus Möhlenkamp, CEO of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. “With our fuel cell system, we have such a solution. Together with our partners such as ZF Friedrichshafen AG and FlixBus, we are now developing the scientific basis for rapid industrialization and upscaling of the technology.”

Hydrogen: how the most common element in the universe is being utilized

Hydrogen itself is volatile and normally has neither a smell nor a color. Its gaseous molecule consists of two atoms that are to be stored at a high pressure – ideally in meticulously sealed tanks or gas bottles. Hydrogen strives to do one thing: rejoin oxygen and become water. The energy that is needed for its division, is then partly set free again by the hydrogen. This effect can be utilized within a fuel cell to produce and utilized energy that is carbon neutral. In order to run fully emission free hydrogen buses in the future, FlixMobility is planning to use only green hydrogen produced with sustainable methods and renewable energy for operations and will therefore partner with infrastructure and energy providers to achieve this goal.

More information www.flixbus.com