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Assessing the Feasibility of Hydrogen and Electric Buses for Urban Public Transportation using Rooftop Integrated Photovoltaic Energy in Cuenca Ecuador


A main restriction of renewables from intermittent sources is the mismatch between energy resource availability and energy requirements, especially when extensive power plants are producing at their highest potential causing huge energy surpluses. In these cases, excess power must be stored or curtailed. One alternative is increasing urban solar potential which could be integrated to feed electric buses directly or alternatively through hydrogen (H2 ) as an energy vector. H2 from renewable electricity can be stored and used directly or through fuel cells. This study aims to determine the H2 capability that could be achieved when integrating large-scale photovoltaic (PV) generation in urban areas. This analysis was carried out by determining the PV energy potentially generated by installing PV in Cuenca City downtown (Ecuador). Cuenca is in the process of adopting renewal of the public transport vehicle fleet, introducing a new model with an electric tram main network combined with “clean type buses”. The conventional diesel urban transport could be replaced, establishing a required vehicle fleet of 475 buses spread over 29 routes, emitting 112 tons of CO2 and burning 11,175 gallons of diesel daily. Between the main findings, we concluded that the electricity that could be produced in the total roof area exceeds the actual demand in the study area by 5.5 times. Taking into account the energy surplus, it was determined that the available PV power will cover from 97% to 127% of the total demand necessary to mobilize the city bus fleet. The novelty of this work is the proposal of a combined methodology to find the potential to feed urban transport with urban solar power in cities, close to the equatorial line.

Funding source: This research received no external funding from the Energía Research Group (GIE), from the Salesian Polytechnic University, and from the Research Vicerectorate University of Cuenca. It is part of the Ecosistema Sostenible de Movilidad Eléctrica para la Ciudad de Cuenca Ecuador research project.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Ecuador ; Spain

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