• 31 May
    World’s first liquid nitrogen hybrid bus completes trials

    World’s first liquid nitrogen hybrid bus completes trials

    A revolutionary hybrid bus that runs on both diesel and liquid nitrogen has completed a rigorous series of trials to bring it one step closer to the road.

    Productiv is proud to be part of the Innovate UK consortium that built and developed the game-changing vehicle.

    The hybrid bus – CE Power – is the first in the world to be powered by liquid nitrogen and was built by engineers at HORIBA MIRA.

    The bus uses alternative propulsion to address urban air pollution challenges and features a high-efficiency, zero emission Dearman engine powered by liquid nitrogen, alongside a conventional diesel engine. The hybrid system enables the bus to reduce noxious tail-pipe emissions, improving local air quality.

    Led by Dearman, the Innovate UK consortium also comprised Air Products, Cenex, Coventry University, HORIBA MIRA, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Productiv, and TRL (Transport Research Laboratory).

    Productiv’s part in the project included the design for the manufacture and assembly of the Dearman engine, and estimating costs for both the engine’s manufacture and for Make vs Buy. In addition, Productiv was also responsible for researching state-of-the-art facilities and volume facility design for the Dearman engine, and identifying the best supply chain.

    The bus uses a hybrid propulsion system to reduce emissions during acceleration after stopping. This portion of the bus’s drive cycle traditionally has a heavy impact on the diesel engine and can produce vast amounts of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions. As the Dearman engine produces none of these harmful emissions, it will enable the bus to continue to frequently stop to unload and pull away from a bus stop without expelling the same level of damaging pollutants.

    While driving at 20mph or below, the liquid nitrogen – stored in a low pressure insulated cylinder – is warmed up to the point of boiling, at which time it creates enough pressure to drive the multi-cylinder Dearman engine. The diesel engine kicks in once the bus reaches 20mph, as the bus requires less effort from the engine to operate at this speed.

    The bus trials were completed at HORIBA MIRA’s engineering facilities and proving ground in Nuneaton and included components and full system testing, along with an engineered drive cycle to simulate a standard bus route with a variety of stops.

    David Sanders, Dearman’s commercial director, commented: “As the UK wrestles with dangerous levels of urban air pollution, a bus that runs on ‘thin air’ represent a significant breakthrough. The Dearman engine has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of both buses and HGVs, reducing fuel consumption and cutting pollution.

    “Crucially, it can provide a cost effective alternative to other emerging zero emission technologies, whose environmental performance is often offset by complexity and cost. This successful trial could be the first step towards rolling out a British innovation to the streets of the UK and around the world.”

    The benefits of using liquid nitrogen over an electric hybrid bus include a much longer life, local production and easy refuelling. Batteries, which power many of the UK’s electric hybrids, require changing several times over the course of a bus’ lifetime, whereas the liquid nitrogen system will last the lifetime of the bus.

    Liquid nitrogen can be produced locally without the need for neodymium or lithium, which are both used by motors and batteries and sourced from overseas. Furthermore, refuelling liquid nitrogen can take a matter of minutes, enabling the bus to return to the road in a short timeframe.

    By Anand Lakhani Uncategorized
  • 17 May
    Insight: our top 3 takeaways from the Vehicle2Grid conference in Amsterdam

    Insight: our top 3 takeaways from the Vehicle2Grid conference in Amsterdam

    Productiv is at the forefront of technology for the electrification of the automotive powertrain.

    That’s why our product strategy manager, Tom Donnelly, attended a conference in Amsterdam last week on ‘vehicle to grid’; a potential solution to the additional load that will be placed on the national grid when we all start charging our electric cars.

    These are the top three lessons Tom brought away with him:

    1. Chief technology officer for the City of Amsterdam, Ger Baron, explained to delegates that the Netherlands missed the first industrial revolution in the 17th century, which was driven by the steam engine, because the Dutch government was subject to powerful lobbying from the dominant wind power industry at the time. Now, however, it seems the situation has been completely reversed. A Dutch technology investor said that current opposition to wind turbines in the Netherlands means that the growth of wind power is now far behind other European countries such as Sweden, Spain and France.
    2. Vehicle to grid technology is already available in the shape of the Nissan Leaf. Following the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, the Japanese government asked Nissan to develop a vehicle to grid capability that could help power local facilities in an emergency. The result is that the original Leaf, with a battery capacity of 24kWh, can power a house for up to two days.
    3. The electric vehicle industry is giving rise to some unexpected new entrants. When the German post office, Deutsche Post, needed a small delivery van, they couldn’t find one that suited their particular needs. So they decided to build the van themselves! And it’s been so successful that they now sell electric delivery vans to other companies, and are even working on a larger van and an e-bike for mail delivery.

    Read more about the Vehicle2Grid conference here

    By Anand Lakhani Uncategorized
  • 10 May
    Productiv set to attend Vehicle 2 Grid Conference in Amsterdam

    Productiv set to attend Vehicle 2 Grid Conference in Amsterdam

    We’re looking forward to attending the Interreg North Sea Region (European Development Fund) and Innovate UK Vehicle 2 Grid Conference tomorrow and Friday.

    Our product strategy manager Tom Donnelly will deliver a pitch to the assembly to explain how Productiv works with technology developers to maximise their chance of commercial success.

    Productiv is at the forefront of technology for the electrification of the automotive powertrain. One of the issues associated with electric powertrains is the additional load that will be placed on the electricity grid network when we all charge our electric cars.

    However, cars themselves can be part of the solution to this problem.

    With many cars plugged in overnight – and throughout the day – to recharge their batteries, they can be used as an energy store to supplement the grid during periods of peak demand. This is one solution being proposed to minimise the investment in infrastructure required for the expected growth of adoption of electric vehicles.

    The procedure has become known as ‘Vehicle-to-Grid’, and is being looked at by several industries, including the electricity generators and distributors.

    This will benefit some of the technology developers that we are working with; for example Zapinamo, which provides mobile and remote charging services.

    Potentially any technology developer working with batteries, power electronics or range extenders, could conceivably become part of this system.

    The solution to this issue will be multi-industry and the Productiv team will keep ahead of the issues facing all stakeholders to ensure that our technology developer partners are well placed to take advantage of this emerging market.

    By Anand Lakhani Uncategorized