Transition Technologies for Electrification and Optimisation of Bus Transport Systems

Time: Tue 2020-05-05 10.00

Location: (English)

Subject area: Energy Technology

Doctoral student: Dennis Dreier , Energiteknik

Opponent: Lecturer, Researcher Hannah Daly, University College Cork, Ireland

Supervisor: Professor Viktoria Martin, Energiteknik; Assistant Professor Dilip Khatiwada, Energiteknik; Assistant Professor William Usher, Energiteknik; Professor Semida Silveira, Energiteknik, Huvudhandledare, 20151201-20171130; Professor Mark I. Howells, Energisystemanalys, Huvudhandledare, 20171201-20191208


The topical issue of climate change has increasingly become important as scenarios indicate an increase of 2.5–7.8°C in the global mean temperature by the end of this century, if no greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. The transport sector depends strongly on fossil fuels and has been therefore considered as one key sector concerning climate change mitigation. In this regard, a key role is played by cities, since progressing urbanisation will presumably lead to a higher demand for urban transport.

This doctoral thesis addresses the transition phase of public bus transport systems by exploring electrification as a vector for decarbonisation. The C40-city of Curitiba in Southern Brazil is used as a case study. The research is of explorative and empirical nature. Quantitative research methods are applied to compare bus technologies as well as new optimisation models and planning tools are developed to support data analytics and research in the areas of simulation, optimisation and (long-term) planning of energy and transport systems at different levels of consideration.

The results from the comparison of different buses show large potentials to save energy and reduce emissions during the operation phase, for example, when using hybrid-electric or plug-in hybrid-electric buses instead of conventional buses. Moreover, energy savings in the operation phase also imply avoidance of fuel production and supply. Additionally, electrified buses can also reduce operational uncertainty caused by varying driving cycles and fluctuating fuel prices concerning an absolute variation of both energy use and fuel cost in the operation phase.

A real-time optimisation model was developed, and its concept tested to estimate potentials for energy savings and all-electric operation from the operational optimisation of a plug-in hybrid-electric bus fleet. Different management strategies were simulated concerning the charging schedule and all-electric operation of the bus fleet. While energy savings can be significantly increased through a structural change towards more electrified buses, a large potential to increase the total all-electric operation of the bus fleet was estimated through operational optimisation. Consequently, both a structural change and operational optimisation should be jointly applied to maximise the benefits gained from electrification in a bus transport system.

The software system OSeMOSYS-PuLP was developed for empirical deterministic-stochastic modelling based on the OSeMOSYS modelling framework, which enables the use of a Monte Carlo simulation. The open source design of the tool shall enhance transparency and trustworthiness in studies. It is transferable to many cases and makes it possible for analysts and researchers to generate new sets of conclusions together with associated probability distributions considering the use of real-world datasets, e.g. from open data initiatives as the one in Curitiba.

In summary, the research findings, applied methods and developed tools can be used to support and inform analysts and decision-makers in the area of transport and energy systems planning in data-driven decision-making processes to develop and assess different technological options and strategies at different levels while considering associated uncertainties.