In 2013, two hydrogen buses were taken into operation by KIT. The H2 shuttle buses of KIT represent a milestone on the way towards a viable hydrogen infrastructure and the research and development platform to be established by KIT.
The H2 buses are to demonstrate everyday suitability of the technology in shuttle operation. In the region of northern Baden, a supply infrastructure shall be established.
Moreover, KIT’s project staff will make an economic assessment as to whether the operation of hydrogen vehicles is competitive. They will also analyze hydrogen production from renewable energy sources under regional conditions.
The scientists will test hydrogen technology in practice and obtain valuable data. The public will have the opportunity to perceive and experience a new technology.
The project is supported by a consortium of representatives from research and education, automotive industry, technology suppliers, gas industry, energy utilities, and the public passenger transport sector. It is closely associated with the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) .
KIT’s hydrogen shuttle bus is based on the standard city bus model of Citaro and 12 m long. The buses are manufactured by Evobus GmbH, a subsidiary of Daimler AG.
- 2 x 60 KW fuel cell (proton exchange membrane fuel cells, PEM FC) stacks each
- 35 kg H2 store at 350 bar
- About 300 km range
- Electric drive with wheel hub engines
- Lithium-ion batteries (about 10 km emergency reserve)
- Low-floor technology
- Rearview camera
- Controls for urban shuttle transport
The Refueling Station
The project to build a hydrogen refueling station on Campus North started in 2011. The refueling station and the buses are funded by the state of Baden-Württemberg under the state investment program (55 percent) and KIT (45 percent).
- 350 bar and 700 bar filling
- 80 kg dispense quantity daily (corresponds to about three bus refuelings)
- Duration of refueling (about 30 kg): 20 minutes
- at 45 bar: 300 kg H2(g)
- at 450 bar: 420 kg H2(g)
Hydrogen at KIT
In 2005, the then Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, one of the two predecessor institutions of KIT, established the HyTec Group. Today, this group consists of 80 scientists from eight institutes, who work on storage technologies, reforming technologies, smallest systems, safety issues, and catalysts. The group is the largest of its type in Germany. The following KIT institutes are involved: Institute of Nanotechnology (INT), Institute for Nuclear and Energy Technologies (IKET), Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Institute for Technical Chemistry (ITC), Institute of Product Engineering (IPEK), Institute of Process Engineering in Life Sciences, Division III: Bioprocess Engineering (Bio-VT), Institute for Micro Process Engineering (IMVT), and Institute of Catalysis Research and Technology (IKFT).
The HyTec Group cooperates closely with the KIT Energy, NanoMicro, and Mobility Systems Centers. At the interface of research and technology, activities focus on conventional power production, power production from biomass, and storage and use of energy.
Several projects at KIT concentrate on hydrogen technology. In this area, KIT researchers cooperate with partners from science and industry.
The H2FC project focuses on the coordinated supply and further development of a European research infrastructure for hydrogen and fuel cells.
- 19 scientific partners: KIT, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, HSE, and others
- Consultants: BMW, Daimler, Volvo, Air Liquide, Linde, Desertec
- Duration 2011-2015
The HydroMicPro project focuses on hydrogen from microalgae, the main activity being cell and reactor design for economically efficient production.
- Six partners
- Coordination: KIT
- Start in 2010
The European NANOHy project concentrates on novel nanocomposites for H2 storage applications.
- Partners: KIT, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Future Carbon GmbH, University of Oslo, and others
- Duration 2008-2012
The H2 membrane reformer project in cooperation with industry is funded by the "Otto von Guericke" federation of industrial research associations.
- Partners: KIT, Linde AG, Plansee Group
Hydrogen Production: Facilities at KIT
- VERENA Pilot Plant (test facility for the use of agricultural substances for energy production)
Based on experimental findings obtained at the laboratory, KIT established the VERENA pilot plant (test facility for the use of agricultural substances for energy production) with a total capacity of 100 kg/h (maximum 20% dry matter). Presently, this plant is in operation. It is designed for an operation pressure of up to 35 MPa and a maximum temperature of 700°C. VERENA is the first completely equipped and continuously operated facility worldwide for biomass gasification in supercritical water (water at a temperature of at least 374.12°C and a pressure of at least 221.2 bar).
- Bioliq Pilot Plant
The bioliq® pilot plant on KIT’s Campus North will start operation in early 2013. The process developed by KIT will produce high-quality and engine-compatible designer fuels for diesel and Otto engines from biogenous residues, such as straw.
In the first phase of operation of the refueling station and both shuttle buses, external suppliers will deliver all the hydrogen needed. In the medium term, KIT will switch to “green” hydrogen produced by KIT plants like bioliq, VERENA, or by high-pressure electrolysis.
Hydrogen Infrastructure at KIT