The article is in German, so it was translated for this page. The link to the original publication is below the text.
Fuel cell-powered cargo bikes for urban use
Using cargo bikes instead of delivery trucks protects the environment and the minds of local residents. A research project is exploring the use of fuel cells as a drive system.
Electric delivery bikes protect the environment and are often a faster alternative to conventional delivery vehicles in urban areas. A key challenge for their use is energy storage. Even models with modern batteries cannot provide enough energy and require battery replacement depending on route length. At low temperatures, battery performance also drops significantly, limiting the reliability and usability of the vehicles.
As an alternative for conventional batteries, the project team of the transnational Interreg project FCCP is therefore testing the use of fuel cells to power the wheels from 2018 to 2021. The fuel cell enables the cargo bike to cover greater distances than battery-based solutions. Refueling with hydrogen is possible within a few minutes and takes place through a stand-alone refueling infrastructure at micro-hubs, which are small transfer points in cities.
The FCCP cargo bike, unlike battery-powered bikes, can easily operate in cold, winter temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees thanks to an innovative pre-heating system. Each conventional parcel delivery van replaced by an FCCP cargo bike saves city centers 5.5 tons of CO2 per year.
Logistics concept being tested in five major cities
In order to optimally integrate the performance features of the fuel cell cargo bike and to take into account the requirements of sustainable urban development, an innovative logistics concept is being developed together with research institutions, parcel service providers, e-commerce retailers and five cities in the partner countries in northwestern Europe involved in the Interreg project (Aberdeen, Groningen, The Hague, Stuttgart and Versailles).
The aim is to integrate fuel cell wheels into the urban supply chains of parcel delivery companies, thereby reducing CO2 and noise emissions as well as congestion. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is leading the joint project with twelve other partner institutions from the partner countries Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom.
For the technical development, the use of 50 fuel cell cargo bikes for inner-city parcel delivery is being tested in the five major cities involved. The cities represent test areas with different European environmental conditions and influencing factors. The German partner city of Stuttgart, for example, currently ranks fifth in congestion statistics in Germany.
Two fuel cell cargo bikes in Stuttgart
Stuttgart is therefore a project partner and actively supports the FCCP project with the test deployment of two fuel cell cargo bikes in hilly areas, but also by promoting the associated infrastructure. During the test operation, data will be recorded and evaluated for analysis. The Interreg project paves the way for the deployment of local zero-emission fuel cell cargo bikes in the Stuttgart area.
Similar to Stuttgart, other major European cities are also future application sites and have a great influence on the potential of cargo bikes, for example for legislation. After all, pollutant emissions and congestion are not limited to Germany, but represent a challenge for all major European cities. Therefore, it makes sense to use and test the fuel cell cargo bikes under the different European environmental conditions.
Due to the good partner structure to the European participants, the Interreg project also brings together the most diverse competencies from business, science, cities and municipalities. In order to promote the emission-free solution, an intensive exchange between the partners takes place.
The result of the transnational cooperation is a climate-friendly logistics solution for urban areas, which will be made available to both cities and the transport sector through a technology roll-out and communication strategy. An interactive database provides collaboration information and lessons learned for efficient use of FCCP cargo bikes. Brigitte Ahlke, Nina Kuenzer
The authors: Dipl.-Geographin Brigitte Ahlke and Nina Kuenzer M.Sc. are responsible for transnational cooperation within Interreg B in the department "European Spatial and Urban Development" of the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR).
The FCCP project demonstrates the importance and innovation of transnational cooperation between regions, such as the Northwest Europe area, facing common challenges. Here, FCCP stands for the successful exchange of experiences and competencies and the networking of regional actors across borders. From 2018 to 2021, the project was funded by the Interreg B program for the Northwest Europe area with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and additionally supported by the national federal program Transnational Cooperation of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Construction and Home Affairs (BMI). Currently, the programs for the funding period 2021-2027 are being developed. From autumn 2021, the first calls for Interreg project funding can be expected. Complementary to Interreg funding, the federal program Transnational Cooperation supports selected Interreg projects with a thematic focus of particular federal interest from national funds. More info at: www.interreg.de