Issue date: 09 March 2001

The University of the West of England is involved in the organisation of an international congress, which will focus on hybrid vehicle development.

The PROSPER (Promotion of Pollution Control and Energy Saving by the use of Hybrid Power Systems) Congress is a joint collaboration with TTK, a transportation consultancy based in Karlsruhe, Germany.

PROSPER will provide a platform for dissemination of information on new technologies for low emission vehicles, passenger transit vehicles in particular, to a worldwide audience of urban transport professionals and authorities.

Of particular note are new developments in hybrid electric propulsion systems for passenger transit vehicles, which could lead to lower fuel consumption and lower emissions.

The university, along with 8 other European partners, has for some time been involved in a project, ULEV-TAP (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle - Transport with Advanced Propulsion). In this project, which started in 1997, a novel hybrid system, comprising a gas-turbine and flywheel, is to be tested and evaluated in a 30 tonne light rail vehicle. The ultimate aim is to provide the benefits of light rail systems without the need for electrification.

Dr Colin Jefferson, UWE member of the project team and co-ordinator of the PROSPER conference said "Transport is already the main cause of air pollution in our cities and is becoming the main cause of carbon dioxide emissions. Hybrid technology provides enormous scope for reducing energy use and emissions in urban transport. A hybrid bus, which is currently operating in Eindhoven, powered by a combined flywheel and gas engine, has already demonstrated over 30% fuel savings and 90% reduction in emissions compared with an equivalent diesel bus. The ULEV-TAP project aims to apply the technology to rail transport and is evaluating the use of a gas turbine as the engine. By bringing new technology of this kind to the forefront of the minds of manufacturers, operators, consultants and city planners, we hope to stimulate investment in new vehicles designed to help meet urban air quality and green house gas emission reduction targets."

Karlsruhe is the ideal venue for the congress - a centre for innovation in rail technology for public transport. Dual-mode light rail propulsion, able to operate either with batteries or overhead supply line, was first developed here in 1989. The city has since pioneered the practice of light and heavy rail integration. Delegates to the congress will thus have the opportunity to sample not only a variety of hybrid vehicles, but also, the extensive light rail network which has become the envy of cities worldwide.

For information on the congress and the call for papers, please visit or contact


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