The Future is Green

Technologies for the Coming Year

Over the next 12 months, operators will be under more pressure than ever to ensure their fleets are as environmentally friendly as possible whilst also cutting emissions to fall in line with the governments scheme to build a healthier environment in urban areas. The government has identified ten key pillars to drive forward its industrial strategy, including delivering affordable energy and clean growth, alongside investing in science, research and innovation, upgrading infrastructure and driving growth across the country.

Local authorities have a role to play in supporting and coordinating this as they develop and implement their proposals for tackling air quality. To find out more about the strategies to improve clean air and emission zones, read our “Building a Better Environment” blog located here.

This blog focuses on the technologies that should be expected to be in place in 2018, including Gas engines, Hybrid engines and Fully electric engines.

Biogas

So, what is Biogas? The disposal and treatment of biological waste are major challenges for many industries. Anaerobic fermentation—a superior alternative to composting—provides a unique solution for the management of a wide range of organic substances. Created during anaerobic fermentation, biogas serves as a high-energy, renewable fuel that can be used as a substitute for fossil fuels. Biogas engines not only improve waste management, but also generate an economical energy supply.

It is eco-friendly. Because the production of biogas develops without the need for oxygen, there is also no form of combustion involved. No combustion leads to zero emissions of greenhouse gasses in the environment. However, this being said, carbon dioxide is still produced in the biological breakdown process (anaerobic digestion) and in the use of biogas. The difference though between fossil fuels and biogas is that the amount of carbon dioxide produced is far less with biogas, balancing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

An unfortunate disadvantage of biogas today is that the systems used in the production of biogas are not efficient. There are no new technologies yet to simplify the process and make it abundant and low cost. This means large scale production to supply for a large population is still not possible. Although the biogas plants available today are able to meet some energy needs, many governments are not willing to invest in the sector.

Hybrid

Hybrid buses are powered by an electric motor, which is in turn charged by a conventional diesel engine. This arrangement means that hybrid buses are quieter, cleaner and more fuel efficient than standard diesel buses.

Latest manufacturing technology has introduced a development of the London “Double-Decker”, a new interpretation of the traditional red buses that are a feature of the extreme traffic density in London. The technology used on these buses uses a small Diesel engine with electric storage through a lithium ion battery pack. The use of a 1.9-litre Diesel instead of the typical 7.0-litre engine in a traditional bus demonstrates the possible advantages of serial hybrids in extremely traffic-dense environments. Based on a London test cycle, a reduction in CO2 emissions of 31% and fuel savings in the range of 40% have been demonstrated, compared with an “Euro-4” compliant bus.

Fully Electric

As the public transport sector is responsible for a large portion of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, it is essential that cleaner buses are introduced into the mainstream sooner rather than later.

According to a report published in January by the Zero Emission Urban Bus System (ZeEus), within the European market, the UK leads the way with the advancement of introducing electric buses into circulation with around 18% now operating in the fleet. Currently more than 1,300 electric buses are in use or on order in Europe, including all-electric, hybrid and trolley buses with batteries for off-wire operation. Worldwide, more than 173,000 electric buses are operating – most of them in China.

As with hybrid models, fully electric buses can still recycle power harnessed from the momentum of the vehicle when the driver applies the brakes. Although they’re more suitable for shorter routes as they need down time to recharge, drivers can top up power at the press of a button at a wireless charger station while passengers get off – and the buses completely recharge back at the depot overnight.

Electric vehicles are an essential technology for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but operators are also experimenting with other green technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells and biomethane models. The ZeEUS report shows that some 25 European cities plan to have a total of 2,500 electric buses operating by 2020, and Norway plans to phase out all fossil-fuel-powered vehicles by 2025. It seems that a full switch to low-carbon energy is finally in sight.

How WJF Can Help

In summary, clearly the age of green technology for vehicles is upon us and we must embrace it or get left behind. The management at WJF Technical Support have followed the story and made no decisions as yet, as to which should be the preferred path, but be certain, a cleaner and greener future can only be good for us all.

There will, no doubt, be lessons learned along the way, but a willingness to learn new skills and adapt is an ethos we always buy into at WJF. Surely this is good a reason as any to engage with us for future-proofing your business with a company that already is a long way to finding stability in a new age of greener living.

Call us today to discuss how we can help resource your future projects.

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