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At the “Miniatur-Wunderland” in Hamburg, the world's largest H0-gauge model railway, a 1:87-scale Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell bus has recently started doing the rounds.
The fully working model, which is sponsored by the Daimler AG Research unit, is just 14 cm long. A mini fuel cell burns hydrogen and oxygen to generate the power necessary to keep the mini electric motor on the bus running.
The tank is sufficient to power the bus for five minutes – afterwards the bus is filled up with hydrogen in an eco-friendly manner at a solar-powered filling station designed specially for the bus.
The miniature fuel-cell bus follows in the wake of the world's largest practical trial of fuel cell technology.
Between 2003 and 2006, 30 buses based on the Mercedes-Benz Citaro provided local-public-transport services in major European cities; another three served routes in Australia (Perth) and China (Beijing) respectively.
In total the vehicles have clocked up over two million low-emission kilometres in some 135,000 hours of operation.
The Citaro fuel-cell buses have impressively proven their everyday practicality. The buses were operated as part of the CUTE (Clean Urban Transport for Europe) project in which 31 European partners from the fields of business, science and politics have been advancing hydrogen technology and production, as well as setting up the relevant infrastructure.
The “Miniatur-Wunderland” leisure attraction in Hamburg is big on superlatives. As part of the world's largest H0-gauge model railway, some 830 trains with 15,000 carriages and wagons, controlled by 36 computers, run on an area covering over 6000 square metres. Another 200,000 miniatures move and 300,000 lights illuminate the wonderland.
Visitors encounter many parts of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia while strolling through the attraction. This popular tourist attraction drew more than 1,000,000 visitors in 2008.
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