VDL Bus & Coach and Team FAST build world's first formic acid-powered city bus

. VDL Bus & Coach and Team FAST will collaborate on the development of the world's first city bus that runs on formic acid. Team FAST, a group of students from Eindhoven University of Technology, presented a model car that runs on formic acid in January 2016. “We have liquefied electricity,” says Tim van Lohuizen of Team FAST. “And we look forward to the challenge of further developing our system for use in buses with VDL Bus & Coach.” 
“We are constantly looking for new technologies that make it easier to extend the range of zero emission transportation. The conversion of formic acid to hydrogen is one of these promising new technologies,” says Menno Kleingeld, Managing Director VDL Enabling Transport Solutions (VDL ETS). VDL ETS focuses on the strategic importance of E-Mobility and carries out all pre-development projects in the area of innovative transport solutions within VDL Groep.

From left to right:
Menno Kleingeld, Managing Director VDL Enabling Transport Solutions
Max Weetzel, Max Aerts and Tim van Lohuizen, Team FAST
Rémi Henkemans, Managing Director VDL Bus & Coach 

Liquid electricity
Formic acid, or methanoic acid, is a chemical substance that also occurs in nature. As a chemical product it is used for various applications. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have discovered a way to quickly and efficiently transform hydrogen into liquid formic acid and back again into hydrogen. Formic acid as liquid energy carrier can be stored and transported much more easily. Existing filling stations can be used for the energy supply, because a bus that runs on formic acid does not need to be recharged but rather fills up with formic acid, like filling a tank with diesel. This means no emission of harmful gases and a much greater range than what is currently common for vehicles with alternative powertrains.

VDL Citea Electric
The bus that will become the world's first formic acid-powered bus in the course of 2016 is a VDL Citea Electric with a length of 12 metres. The modular construction of the Citea range makes it possible to choose from various electric drive systems, battery packs and charging systems so the most ideal and optimal combination can be selected for every deployment area. This modular design also facilitates the necessary adaptations for driving on formic acid, without consequences for accessibility, interior layout or comfort.

Team FAST 
Team FAST consists of around 25 students from Eindhoven University of Technology. This group of students is engaged in the development of technology that can use formic acid as a renewable, liquid, innovative energy carrier. The team was formed in September 2015, and just four months later, on 14 January 2016, they presented a model car powered by this new discovery. Since then, Team FAST has set to work to further develop its technology to make it suitable for large vehicles too. Because Team FAST strives for a sustainable world and truly wants to make a contribution, the decision was taken to enter into a partnership with VDL. In this way Team FAST intends to demonstrate that formic acid is an attractive solution for sustainable mobility.

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