On the road to a carbon-free future

The aviation industry produces around 2% of all human-made CO2 emissions, aviation being responsible for 12% of CO emissions2 emissions from all sources of transport. With these numbers in mind, the aviation industry has worked hard to ensure that its carbon footprint is reduced through the use of sustainable aviation fuels, using solar panels to power terminals and electric planes.

Bristol Airport has shown no signs of slowing down on its journey to carbon neutrality, establishing the airport’s carbon roadmap, switching to 100% renewable energy and now implementing an electric bus in the mix.

The shuttle, which will run between terminals and planes, can carry 110 passengers at a time and is the only project the airport will be working on this year to achieve net zero status by 2030.

All aboard the battery bus!

Manufactured by COBUS Industries – an airport bus brand that is part of the CaetanoBus Group – an all-electric bus began testing at Bristol Airport to help the airport meet its goal of becoming net zero by 2030. The shuttle, named e.Cobus 300, operates between the airport terminal and the planes.

The bus has many features designed for passenger comfort, such as several fully electric air conditioning and heating solutions, which can be customized to meet individual needs, display of operational information for passengers and charging points. for passengers.

During the test, the operational advantages of the bus will be monitored and studied and compared to the already existing fleet.

Commenting on the bus test, Fraser Dury, Bristol Airport Engineering Manager, said: “The e.COBUS test has been provided by COBUS for approximately eight weeks. We also recondition an existing diesel COBUS so that it is fully electric. This will be completed by COBUS and should be on site in spring 2022. “

In addition to the benefits for passengers, there are also benefits for operators. The bus has a flexible charging strategy thanks to its titanite lithium batteries which are charged on stationery fast chargers. A full charge of the bus takes two hours, allowing for fast operation and reduced charging idle times.

Credit: Cobus.

Equipped with the Siemens ‘ELFA’ electric powertrain, the e.Cobus provides a reliable maintenance-free solution that guarantees noise reduction – providing a peaceful journey for passengers. Paired with the powertrain, the batteries that power the bus have an 8-year warranty and approximately 12-year lifespan and allow operation from minus 30 degrees to over 50 degrees with no cooling or preheating required.

In terms of maintenance, the bus offers a simple and easy-to-access solution: service hatches. Located all around the bus, these service shutters provide direct access to service key bus components.

“The main benefit is the reduction in carbon emissions. Removal of a diesel vehicle and replacement by an electric vehicle.

“The main benefit is the reduction in carbon emissions. Removal of a diesel vehicle and replacement by an electric vehicle, ”adds Dury. “This allows us to assess current and future needs, while also allowing an existing asset to be recycled and / or refurbished. “

Supporting the airport: achieving environmental objectives

The decision to use the electric bus was taken to further speed up the airport’s journey to become net-zero by 2030, with the airport saying it will be the last project it will focus on this year. . Dury explains, “The decision was part of our NetZero plans and will allow us to try and operate an e.COBUS over an extended period of time to understand practicalities such as recharging during operation during peak passenger traffic. “

“Since the use of these vehicles is primarily for short trips, the electric makes a lot of sense as the engines do not idle when passengers enter and exit the vehicle.”

“The decision to convert an existing COBUS from diesel to electric has allowed us to extend the life of the asset, by recycling a vehicle that could potentially become obsolete in the future. Since these vehicles are primarily used for short trips, the electric makes a lot of sense as the engines do not idle when passengers enter and exit the vehicle.

If the test is successful during its eight weeks, the airport intends to make it a permanent part of the airport as well as convert several other diesel COBUS to electric versions.

Credit: Cobus.

Along with Bristol Airport’s inclusion of this new battery-powered bus, other companies have invested in sustainable bus fuel, such as hydrogen. On October 18 of this year, the world’s very first double-decker hydrogen bus toured the UK from London.

Manufactured by Wrightbus, hydrogen distribution company Ryze Hydrogen and hydrogen production company INEOS, the design of this new bus is expected to play a key role in the country’s race to net-zero. Dubbed the ‘Wrightbus Hydroliner’, the bus will travel 600 miles from London and end in Glasgow ahead of the United Nations climate conference, COP26.

With ambitious CO reduction targets2 emissions, with airports – such as Bristol – moving towards net zero and the emergence of new carbon reduction technology, it does not seem unlikely that the aviation industry will be able to meet these targets environmental issues before the deadline.

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