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Clean Transport

Australia’s Largest Electric Bus Depot Is Fully Commissioned & Operational

The electric bus sector is growing nicely in many parts of the world. We hear news of transit companies adding new electric buses to their fleets more often now. A lot of these exciting developments are covered here on CleanTechnica. Integrating large fleets of electric buses involves quite a bit of work on the infrastructure side to get the fleet operators’ depots ready to handle large fleets of buses. Some of this work can include integrating stationary storage along with solar PV in a microgrid to support electric bus charging. An example of such a setup is one for Maryland’s transit system that has a solar + storage microgrid for charging its electric buses.

Now, some good news from Australia is that Zenobe, the EV fleet and battery storage specialist, working with Transgrid and Transit Systems, has completed construction of Australia’s largest electrified bus depot, providing a blueprint for the future of clean transport. Now fully commissioned and operational, the depot is an Australian first at this scale, boasting a large solar array, base load metering, onsite energy storage system, grid connection, and vehicle charging.

Here is a summary of the project:

  • 55 electric buses operating from the depot
  • Zenobe’s charging optimization software monitors overall depot energy flows including buses, charging rates, solar consumption, and battery performance.
  • Secured a larger grid connection to the site (additional 1.5 MVA)
  • Commissioning of a 1.25 MW/2.5 MWh battery system to support the bus charging, storing solar power for charging at peak times, reducing costs and minimizing the impact on the local grid
  • Commissioning of 388 kW rooftop solar array, providing clean onsite power generation
  • Commissioning of chargers including 5 x 120 kW DC fast chargers and 31 x AC 80 kW chargers

Zenobe’s Co-Founder and Director Steven Meersman said: “This is a major milestone for the decarbonisation of public transport in Australia. We’re working at the forefront of this transformation, drawing on our strong track record delivering over 50 electrification projects around the world to deliver an electric depot with energy optimisation at its core.”

Transit Systems COO Greg Balkin said: “The project was made possible by international collaboration, bringing the most advanced technologies from around the world into the Sydney bus network.” “We’re incredibly proud of the outcomes achieved and how we have integrated the technology into a world class depot, while maintaining regular services.”

“We thank our project partners Zenobē and TransGrid, as well as Transport for New South Wales (NSW), ARENA and CEFC for their support in bringing this project to life — we are all incredibly proud of the achievement.”

I visited Australia over a decade ago before to attend a friend’s wedding. This was before the introduction of modern electric buses in Queensland. Brisbane had some electric buses in the early 1990s. Now we get regular news on the introduction of electric buses such as these ones in the Gold Coast. 12 years ago, throughout my stay in Brisbane, I used buses to get around. It was quite convenient for me. I used the buses a lot. I am exciting to hear about all these developments in NSW.

 

Image courtesy of Zenobe

 
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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.

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