Publication Date:05-June-2008
11:00 AM US Eastern Timezone 
Source:The Press Association

A carbon free minibus powered by three different green technologies – the first of its kind in Europe – was unveiled and officially launched in Wales today (Thursday June 5 ) – on World Environment Day
The clean, green emission free tribrid bus is the result of an international collaboration, led and co-ordinated in Wales by the University of Glamorgan with funding from the Energy Savings Trust, sponsorship from the Welsh Assembly Government and the support of industry.

The bus was launched and publicly put through its paces for the first time at an Energy Savings Trust event to mark the successful completion of the project.

The event at Baglan Energy Park also marked the launch of the minibus as a viable green transport solution for commercial operators throughout the UK and Europe.

Philip Sellwood, CEO of the Energy Saving Trust commented, “With over 25% of the UK’s total carbon emission produced by road transport every year technology advancements are vital. This mini bus is a great example of how cutting edge engineering can be integrated into a well known vehicle and now groups will be able to use the tribrid bus for outings”

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Minister for the Economy and Transport, said it put Wales at the forefront of green technology where the development of alternative fuels for vehicles has been championed and supported by the Assembly Government and the automotive sector for a number of years.

Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: 

“New technologies are a vital part of our efforts to reduce carbon emissions from transport and help tackle climate change. This doesn’t just apply to cars – between 4 and 5 billion bus journeys are taken every year, so it is essential we make buses as green as possible too. I look forward to tribrid buses becoming commonplace on our roads.”

The minibus, which will be a commercially available prospect in the near future, benefits from three types of power delivery – hydrogen fuel cell, lead acid battery technology and ultra-capacitators.

The person responsible for driving forward the development is project manager  

Jonathan Williams, a senior lecturer at the University of Glamorgan, who spent two and a half years perfecting it, based on his research into control of fuel cell systems.

Prof Guoping Liu an internationally recognized control system expert, is the Project Director and Jonathan’s mentor. He said this tribrid bus offered the potential to make a significant contribution in the increasingly urgent search for alternatives to fossil fuel vehicles and to deliver zero-emissions transportation for communities that will ease global warming.

Jonathan explained the combination of these three technologies overcomes the limitations of vehicles powered solely by battery or fuel cells which his research  identified. The combined system provides a more viable solution while also reducing the overall system costs.

The fuel cell system provides the low to medium constant power delivery, whereas the lead acid battery provides medium constant power. Finally the ultra-capacitors delivery the massive, instantaneous power demands, which is ideal for high load acceleration and regeneration of braking power.

Intelligent power switching methods then allow the charging strategy to be mapped to the fuel cell’s optimal performance which results in the vehicle automatically using the most appropriate form of power and level.

The clean, green and silent vehicle is emission free and has a range of approximately 150 miles based on a city centre drive cycle and a top speed of 55mph.

Ieun Wyn Jones said the development illustrated that Wales was THE place to do business.

“This highly innovative, technology driven prototype is a made in Wales solution and the result of a truly international collaboration which places Wales at the forefront of green technology development.

“It shows quite clearly the importance of linking the expertise available in our academic institutions with the expertise of industry to develop next generation technologies and products.

“The Assembly Government has been actively supporting the automotive sector in the development of niche vehicles and alternative fuels and supply chains. This new tribrid minibus supports the Assembly Government’s clean energy policy, builds on existing research at the University and supports local industry and businesses

“The automotive industry is a key sector for Wales employing 25,000 people, generating over £3billion annually with forty of the top 100 global leaders having an operation in Wales.”

Industrial collaboration was vital for the success of the project which has benefited from a lead acid battery developed by the Japanese Yuasa European Technical Centre at Ebbw Vale.

Hydrogenics, which is headquartered in Toronto and a world leader in hydrogen products and power systems, supplied the fuel cell and technical assistance while Taylor Made Marine, based in Ross-on-Wye, designed and produced an aerodynamic lightweight carbon fibre pod to cover the fuel cells and hydrogen storage tanks.

The vehicle shell was provided by Dragon Coachworks, a joint venture between Dragon Trucks & Van and Brecon Coachworks. The partnership has a base in Merthyr where they intend to create a commercially viable manufacturing base in Wales to develop a range of zero emission vehicles including the tribrid minibus.

The minibus will be used for student transport at the University which has a green campus programme. It will service the existing Treforest, Glyntaff and Cardiff campuses.

It will also link up with the University’s Renewable Hydrogen Research and Demonstration Centre currently under construction at Baglan Energy Park near Port Talbot.

This project, part-funded by ERDF, is also being developed by the Hydrogen Research Unit at the University with the purpose of producing hydrogen from renewable energy sources in Wales and demonstrating the use of hydrogen within the building and for fuelling vehicles.

Funding is also being sought for hydrogen refuelling and electric vehicle recharging facilities at the Renewable Hydrogen Research and Demonstration Centre .

The minibuses will be commercially available as tribrids or any combination of the technologies. Steps to commercialise the tribrid bus will now be undertaken as a separate ongoing programme and it is anticipated to be available at a cost of £90,000— £95,000 which compares with a £2m price tag attached to the London CUTE bus project – hydrogen fuel cell powered buses. Battery only minibuses would be available for £40,000.
Business School Lecturer Appointed as Physical Activity Chair

Senior Lecturer, Rob Griffiths, has recently been appointed as chair of the ‘Developing People’ working group for Rhondda Cynon Taf. The group forms part of the Active Living Partnership that aims to increase the levels of physical activity within the local authority and help to achieve the Sports Council for Wales’ objectives.
The strategy for sport and physical activity in Wales, Climbing Higher, has established very ambitious participation targets for physical activity by 2025. Currently, up to 70% of the adults in the South Wales Valleys are not taking part in any physical activity; furthermore, Rhondda Cynon Taf has been identified as one of the unhealthiest regions to live in the whole of the UK.

The Developing People group will contain representatives from key private, public and voluntary sector bodies and will be responsible for formalising an action plan for developing the workforce to deliver an overall physical activity strategy. In particular, the group will focus upon workforce development, volunteer recruitment and training, and coach education. The official launch of the LAPA took place on 4th June at the ESIS Centre in Nantgarw, with over 80 delegates attending the initial consultation event.

Rob commented, “it is an extremely challenging remit but there is a collaborative approach with a clear commitment from all sectors. The university will have a key contribution to make to this process and we have already started deploying sports students into the community with a focus on raising sport participation levels in children. A key objective of Climbing Higher, aligned with the Olympic vision, is to improve the physical activity levels of young children, with an aim to get all primary school children and 90% of secondary school children taking part in sport and physical activity for at least 60 minutes, five times a week. During the past 6 months, students have delivered over 7000 participant sessions in 35 schools within RCT.”

The University of Glamorgan is set to play an integral role in the development of the RCT Sport and Physical Activity Strategy with staff from the Centre for Sport, Health & Exercise, HESAS and the Business School all involved within the various working groups.

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