Page last updated at 06:14 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 07:14 UK

Green 'tribrid' minibus unveiled

Tribrid bus
The 'tribrid' bus will be used to take students between campuses

A carbon-free minibus powered by three green technologies is to be unveiled to coincide with World Environment Day.

The "tribrid" bus has a range of about 150 miles, a top speed of 55 mph and will be used by students at the University of Glamorgan.

It is powered by hydrogen fuel cells, batteries and ultra-capacitors.

The project, developed by the university, was funded by the Energy Savings Trust and sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Local and overseas businesses also contributed to the minibus.

Project manager Jonathan Williams, a senior lecturer at the University of Glamorgan, spent two-and-a-half years perfecting the vehicle based on his research into the control of fuel cell systems.

He said the combination of the technologies overcame the limitations of vehicles powered solely by battery or fuel cells.

'Zero emissions'

Intelligent power switching methods result in the minibus automatically using the most appropriate form of power and level, he said.

Professor Guoping Liu, the project's director, said the bus offered the potential to make a significant contribution in the search for alternatives to fossil fuel vehicles and to deliver zero-emissions transportation for communities to ease global warming.

The minibus will be used for student transport at the university, which has a green campus programme.

It will service the Treforest, Glyntaff and Cardiff campuses and link with the university's hydrogen research centre under construction at Baglan Energy Park, near Port Talbot.

The bus is expected to be available on the commercial market at a cost of 90,000 to 95,000. Battery-only minibuses would be available for 40,000.

Economy and Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said: "This new tribrid minibus supports the assembly government's clean energy policy, builds on existing research at the university and supports local industry and businesses."

video and audio news
Colette Hume hears from Jonathan Williams how the bus works.

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