Transport will probably experience its main revolution from the beginning of the industrial age. Developments around thermal engines meet technological limits and fossil origin fuel are more and more disparaged due to their worth impact on environment, climatic evolution and air or noise pollution in the cities.
Research is lead in different ways from years to purpose alternative energies to fossil fuel. Electricity driving and hydrogen fuel cells are promising solutions, but are not largely commercialised yet. Furthermore, hydrogen fuel cells face several challenges which need to be overcome: reliability and life time of the fuel cell, distribution networks absence.
MobyPost aims at implementing hydrogen and fuel cell technology at a middle level, based on an environmental respectful strategy, and including a significant experimentation which will enable to proof the viability of the technology and initiate its commercialisation in the field of market niches as material handling vehicles.
MobyPost proposes to develop the concept of electric vehicles powered by fuel cells for delivery application and a local hydrogen production and associated refuelling apparatus from a renewable primary energy source, using industrial buildings to produce hydrogen by electrolysis, roofs of the buildings being covered of photovoltaic solar cells able to supply electrolysis.
In contrast to most of the development strategies existing so far, MobyPost will implement low pressure solutions for hydrogen storage.
The project will lay on experimentation of two fleets of five vehicles, on two different sites for postal mail delivery of La Poste. Development of vehicles and the two refuelling stations associated will be realized considering all certifications processes required in order to implement experimentation in real operating conditions, and taking in account very closely public acceptance towards solutions that will be implemented.
Final Report Summary - MOBYPOST (Mobility with Hydrogen for Postal Delivery)
European postal organizations, like e.g. La Poste in France, use different kind of vehicles to handle postal mail all around the country, according to the volumes to be transported and distance to be covered (plane, train, truck, car, and cycles). For the final stage of...
European postal organizations, like e.g. La Poste in France, use different kind of vehicles to handle postal mail all around the country, according to the volumes to be transported and distance to be covered (plane, train, truck, car, and cycles). For the final stage of routing process, delivery from local sorting centers to recipients is achieved by small vehicles that have to cover a restricted area within a 25 to 35 km radius around the postal center. The Mobypost project goals the development of fuel cell vehicles able to insure this last step in the delivery process. Hydrogen has to be locally produced by use of electric energy generated by photovoltaic technology to realize electrolysis of water. So, ten fuel cell vehicles will be affected on two experiment sites (5 vehicles per site) and electric energy needed to realize electrolysis is generated by photovoltaic solar cells placed on roofs of the buildings of “La Poste”. These two sites were defined at the beginning of the project considering technical, geographic and social requirements: Audincourt (F-25400) and Perrigny (F-39000).
Experimentation achieved during the project highlight the real and actual specifications used nowadays by La Poste to deliver the postal mail in the more effective way. Hence this allows demonstrating the relevance and feasibility of such an innovative approach with nearly zero carbon emission in real working conditions.
A further important goal of the project is also to diffuse the results to similar niche markets around Europe like e.g. postal mail operators of others countries, proximity delivery services providers or municipal technical services. Assignment of those niche markets will also contribute to a positive decrease of production equipment’s costs by increasing the production volume.
Project Context and Objectives:
The project aims to develop ten vehicles to be used during one year on two experiment sites of La Poste – France (5 vehicles per site). The Hydrogen necessary to propel these vehicles is produced in an autonomous way on each site by electrolysis of water. The electric energy needed by the electrolysers is generated by photovoltaic panels placed on roofs of the buildings of La Poste.
MobyPost's work was performed trough nine work packages (WP). The tasks contained in each WP allow the progressive and coherent implementation of the project for the achievement of clear and attainable objectives. The latter were defined in the DOW (Document of work) of the project and they are summarized in the following table as well as the percentage of the realization level of each objective at the end of the project.
Technical objectives as defined in the project and achievement:
a) Stationary hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure: 100%
Autonomous hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure for 5 vehicles at Audincourt 100%
Autonomous hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure for 5 vehicles at Perrigny 100%
b) Vehicle design and development 100%
Technical specifications (200 start/stops each day, useful weight, speed, autonomy, power range (4-6kW),...) 100%
Ergonomics (vehicle accessibility, facility of mails distribution, driver seat adaptability, ability to drive on sidewalks) 100%
c) Certification processes
Hydrogen certification for 10 vehicles 100%
Hydrogen certification for two stations of hydrogen production, storage and refueling 100%
d) Demonstration activities
Monitoring equipment of the 10 vehicles and data acquisition during the tests 100%
Comparison of the real working requirements to expected ones defined at the design stage for the vehicle. 100%
Monitoring equipment of the 2 hydrogen infrastructures. 100%
e) Safety regulations
Refuelling infrastructure will be conduct at a low pressure (max. 30 bars) 100%
To use solid storage of hydrogen onboard the vehicles 100%
f) Public acceptance (communication campaign)
La Poste will carry on large communication towards its staff 100%
Parciticpation to the annual PvF event on mobility (Mobilis) 75%
A conference dedicated to MobyPost project 0%
g) Market introduction strategy
The demonstration of technological achievements, advantages and reliability under real working conditions of a fleet of 10 vehicles 100%
The proof of economic viability based on the analysis of real-test data for a commercial application and not only on simulation data 50%
The existence of proper certification and safety procedures 100%
The public acceptance (postmen’s). 100%
The Mobypost solution as a niche market? 0%
1) Vehicles design and hydrogen drive train integration
The design process of the Mobypost vehicles has been achieved in three main steps: A) design studies, B) validations and drive train integration, C) fleet deployment.
A) Design studies
The aim of this step was to size the hybrid (hydrogen – electrical) drivetrain of the vehicles and to make the technical choices of its main components. Between February 2011 and January 2012, work focused on this task but also to the mechanical studies on its integration into the future MOBYPOST vehicle. Several simulation programs in both electrical and mechanical engineering have been developed for this study, which led to define the principal characteristics of the Mobypost vehicle principally: hydrogen drivetrain architecture, its control strategy and the chassis of the vehicle.
B) Validations and drive train integration
The second step allowed addressing the experimental validation through a number of laboratory experimental tests. This work, carried out between February 2012 and January 2014, focused on integrating the drivetrain into the Mobypost vehicle but also its mechanical and ergonomic designs. This was finished by the development of two prototypes of the Mobypost vehicle (prototypes “ZERO” and “ONE”). The prototype “ZERO” allowed the validation of the drivetrain developments (electrical diagram “harness”, ECU and mechanical fixings of the components) while the prototype “ONE” validated the mechanical and ergonomic solutions but also the definition of the hydrogen homologation process.
C) Fleet deployment
From February to November 2014, the ten Mobypost vehicles were build and certified to be used with hydrogen on road. Before delivering the vehicles to La Poste (final user), it was also necessary to train the postmen (vehicle drivers) by the vehicle's developers. This operation was done progressively staring from December 2014 by one vehicle to reach five vehicles on June 2015 at Audincourt and 4 vehicles on October 2014 at Perringy. Each of the ten vehicles was equipped by remote monitoring system through GPRS cards in order to supervise in real time the fleet operation, to ensure their maintenance and to save the scientific and technical data of the drivetrain for the future improvement work of the vehicles.
2) Hydrogen infrastructure design and installation
The hydrogen infrastructure is composed by two hydrogen stations situated at Audincourt-F and Perrigny-F respectively. One hydrogen station consists mainly of an electrolyser supplied by a photovoltaic generator and a hydrogen tank for storing the produced hydrogen. Finally, the hydrogen station has one garage for parking and refueling each day five vehicles through five dedicated refueling points.
The infrastructure design process was carried out by the project partners at the same time and through the same way as the one of vehicles. Three principal realizations were carried out:
• Design of the different component of the system allowing the hydrogen production, its storage and refueling the vehicles with hydrogen: photovoltaic generators, electrolysers, hydrogen tanks (buffers), interface onsite/onboard hydrogen tanks and the electronic devices for controlling and supervising the two infrastructures.
• Preparing the garages (one new building at Audincourt and adapting an existing building at Perrigny), installing the infrastructure components (photovoltaic generators, photovoltaic power converters, electrolysers, hydrogen tanks (buffers), interface onsite/onboard hydrogen tanks and the electronic devices for controlling and supervising the two infrastructures).
• Certifying the two refueling stations notably regarding to the hydrogen safety before the commissioning.
3) Vehicle experimentation results
The experimentation of the vehicles was performed in two periods:
• From December 2014 to June 2015: the vehicles in Audincourt were refuelled in UTBM premises and then transferred to La Poste site to perform the experimentation.
• From June 2015 to October 2015: the vehicles in Audincourt were directly refuelled on-site at the refuelling station that was ready for experimentation.
In 11 months, the project performed 274 experimentations, corresponding to a trip of 4 to 5 hours on he road with a total of 4908kms (ie. A mean distance about 17.91km) . Among these experimentations, 224 were realized with hydrogen refuelling at the refuelling station (with only 34 in Perrigny due to technical problems with the electrolyser). For these experimentations, the MobyPost vehicles were used as a H2-powered vehicle, meaning that the H2 was used to recharge the electrical battery during the drive in order to recover the initial charge at the end of the trip.
The MobyPost H2 vehicles were mainly used to replace Electrically Assisted Bikes (241 experimentations), 11 experimentations were in replacement of electrical vehicle type Quadeo, 20 replaced a big vehicle Kangoo and 2 were done to replace a scooter. In the scooter and bikes replacements, the accompanying vehicles have been suppressed thanks to the carrying capacity of the Mobypost vehicles. Typically, on electrical bikes experimentations, vehicles travelled in mean 19,45km in 4h15min, had 291 start and stops and used 198g of H2.
During the experimentations, the Mobypost vehicles reached an availability of around 90% with major troubles being Fuel cell disfunction (3 cases) and battery discharge (3 cases). The unavailability caused by the Fuel cell troubles were the longer to repair (around 12 days).
The main conclusions from this experimentations is that the MobyPost vehicle is well designed with 300g tanks and 1.1kW fuel cell properly dimentsioned for the use foreseen.
4) Infrastructure results
On the side of the infrastructure, the electricity annual production reached 44,6MWh for around 35kWp of PV panels installed. The project analysis shows clearly that, due to the seasonal variations, the installation would require to store 25% of the yearly production (around 11 MWh) in order to be totally disconnected from the grid. This means the installation of a 170m³ hydrogen storage tank. This seems to be unrealistic and confirms the partners’ choice to combine onsite storage for daily variations and use of grid support for the seasonal variations in production.
On the side of the electrolysers, in reasons of lot of difficulties in the installations, commissioning and operating phases (ruptures and maintenances), only 10 full operating days could be registered during the summer 2015. During these 10 days, the electrolyser produced around 9kg (from 446 to 1485g per day) of H2 with an efficiency around 57,5% (from 46,34 to 60,55%), which is a good value for such a small electrolyser.
As expected, the ELY stopped to work during the refuelling, explaining also the low values in production obtained. The behavior of the users was different than expected: the postmen refueled the cars at different times of the day, rather than between 6 and 9 am. As originally expected. This led to a reduction of the direct utilization of the PV electricity, because the electrolyser could not produce during the refuelling, lowering then the production of H2 during the day.
A total of 37 days of refueling were registered during the project experimentation, corresponding to a total mass of 11,9kg of H2 refueled. On average, one refueling was 142g in 140min. This gives interesting information about the behavior of the end users: they probably did not fully empty the tank but wanted to refuel after using about 50% of the tank. However, it has to be recalled that the refuelings mostly took place in the summer time. Therefore the results are quite promising for the winter phase, as the heat of the absorption would be dissipated much easier in winter. Finally, it can be observed that the refueling is very quick at the beginning but slow at the end. Therefore, in order to accelerate the process in future projects, it could be advantageous to increase the size of tanks and utilize only a part of the tank capacity.
5) Economics perspectives
Societal impact :
MobyPost partners include European industrial actors and service providers from the transport and hydrogen sectors, who will accelerate the creation, management and deployment of new products, services and business models for project achievements, in the following categories:
• Local hydrogen production and distribution
• Hydrogen storage systems
• Small vehicle for goods delivery
• Electrical and fuel cell powered vehicles
The project results are of great interest not only to transport and H2 professionals but also to local, national and European authorities (special attention to cities). These people should bring these new technologies into their planning for investment leading to Europe-wide deployment. Project already had a good “vitrine” by the French political world both at regional and national level.
The results will also be highly interesting for potential end users, industry and business users (including civil society) who will be most keen to learn of these results, as hydrogen technologies will bring opportunities for a breakthrough in the transport and mobility sector. The project already had good feedback from users and civil society, almost thanks to the involvement and tests under real conditions by out partner La Poste, the French postal delivery service, which is highly in contact with “normal” people every day.
In terms of environmental results, Mobypost project demonstrated that professional continuous mobility remains possible thanks to the renewable local hydrogen (solar-to-wheel concept).
The dissemination aims to spread information among all potentially concerned stakeholders especially certification and standardization bodies, engineering organizations and universities. Research organizations, universities as well as engineers were kept in touch of the project advances not only through regular press release and web articles, but also thanks to scientific publications submitted by project partners.
• Associated partners:
MobyPost was in contact and used the knowledge and networks of well-known organisations, either public or private that have a strong willingness to contribute or benefit from MobyPost results and future outcomes.
Their contribution were parallel and complementary to the project partners’ activities and covered all aspects of the project:
• Cities, local and regional authorities:
Cities and local authorities were important partners of the MobyPost project as they represent end citizens and other users. The City of Audincourt and Lons-Le-Saunier as well as Region Franche-Comté were strong associated partner willing to evaluate and experiment new mobility solutions in an innovative and citizen oriented manner.
The Agence Régional de Dévelopement Franche Comté was also a strong supporter that facilitates the dissemination of the project outcomes through the developemtn and implementation of short videos about the project. They are also a strong support of the project results exploitation, helping in the identification of future interested companies to achieve the technology transfer.
• User/Industry associations:
MobyPost was and is still highly supported by the Pole Véhicule du Futur, French Pole de Compétitivité, which labelled the project and published regularly articles and newsletters about the project.
Dissemination tools and channels :
The various channels and media used in the project for dissemination & exploitation purposes were selected and adapted according to the intended audience or target groups. The table 1 (Appendix 1) presents the media used in the MobyPost project:
- MobyPost identity: To achieve a good and coherent project communication and dissemination, a project’s identity was developed that reflects the project vision and concepts and gives a clear image to the project as well as a clear identity. The visual identity is defined by the project’s logo used in all dissemination tools and printed materials.
- Website : The MobyPost website is the main tool for promotion and public awareness as well as for publication of public results and documents (Picture 1 – Appendix 1).
Briefly it contains:
• General information about project aims and objectives, as well as impacts and benefits
• Information about the consortium and partners
• Information about MobyPost concept and results in form of video
• Links to download public documents
• Information about relevant events and other initiatives
• Contact formular
The website can be visited under the following link: www.mobypost-project.eu
In addition to the project’s website, partners published regularly project-related information’s on their own website, through either a dedicated page or news about the project progress and activities.
MobyPost used also other platform such as the Pole Vehicule du Futur website for communication purpose.
Print materials – newsletters
A MobyPost Brochure was designed and printed at the beginning of the project. This leaflet describes the project main objectives, activities, results and impacts. It also introduce the consortium.
This brochure was freely circulated for project information and promotion at workshops, trade fairs, technical fairs, congresses and other events. An electronic version is available for download on the MobyPost website.
MobyPost issued also 6 newsletters during the project duration aiming at giving general information about the project. Issues approached were: feedback from project activities, project progress and results, interview of partners, envents and initiatives in the field. Once ready, newsletters were sent to all consortium partners to be diffused among partners’ network and clients.
Partners used also their internal channels such as corporate newsletters and magazines to disseminate
Press can be an important tool to diffuse information to many different types of stakeholders, including the general public. Several press releases were issued either in popular press or in specialised medias, as well as in newsletters during the whole project’s duration. Some of these were intensively relayed on many website from differents organisations, assocaitions, blogs and even on-line versions of newspapers, giving to MobyPost a high visibility. Most of these were issued in France, country where the demonstration was implemented.
In addition interviews of the project coordinator as well as videos of the MobyPost concept were issued and diffused on YouTube.
List of Websites: