Ants and Bees, New Allies of Ecological Buses

Ants and Bees, New Allies of Ecological Buses
From record breaking heatwaves to sporadic weather conditions, it can seem that nature is looking for some retribution against humans for their contributions to climate change. Scientists have issued a series of warnings to the drastic consequences if carbon emissions are not reduced with more ecologically friendly energy sources.

Buses That Run on Formic Acid

A group of students from the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands has developed a bus that works with formic acid. This acid, a natural substance produced by ants and bees, is a more economical, practical and, of course, much cleaner and sustainable energy source than traditional fuels commonly used today.

Although it is possible to find it in nature, formic acid can also be obtained at the industrial level. It is currently used to process textile and leather materials, to keep food for livestock and to manufacture cleaning products.

Hydrocin: The Fuel of Future Buses

The new fuel, called “hydrocin”, is in a liquid state, which facilitates transport and loading on buses. The group of students is responsible for finding an efficient way to transport the elements needed by the hydrogen fuel cells used to power electric vehicles.

CO2 emissions?

Although buses will emit CO2 and water through the exhaust pipe, they can be considered completely neutral as this CO2 is used by the system itself to make the fuel.

Animal cruelty?

Project managers have stressed that at no point in the fuel-making process are ants or bees required to be killed for formic acid.

Although the first prototype for the production process was introduced in January 2016 and the first successful tests have already been carried out, the current system is much more powerful (up to 25 kW of power) and seems to be officially ready to start at the end of this year.

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