ABC and Van Hool deliver a cleaner ridership experience on new Van Hool TDX prototype

Imagine breathing clean, filtered air as you commute to work on the bus. For many Silicon Valley workers, that will soon be a reality thanks to a new custom-built HEPA filtration system that will be installed on a special-order Van Hool TDX high-capacity, double-deck coach. The new feature is the culmination of years of collaboration between ABC and Van Hool to create a custom solution that improves interior cabin air quality on the 45’ double deck coach.

“Our advanced Van Hool TDX model meets and exceeds EPA 16, GHG 17 emission standards for commercial vehicles, so integrating new technology that can further enhance the passenger environment is exciting for our team”, Roman Cornell, president and chief commercial officer at ABC Companies, said. “Involving customers in the process from inception, including the design phase, is critical to developing successful and innovative new offerings that meet their needs and strengthen our relationships.”

“While indoor air quality is important for the operation of any business, bringing HEPA filtration technology to a mobile environment is the next step for passenger comfort”, Cornell added.

On both sides of the Atlantic, ABC and Van Hool pooled their expertise and resources to source and build a customized system that utilizes cutting-edge HEPA filtration technology. Together with the Van Hool engineering team, the ABC technical department worked closely to specify and fabricate a working prototype to be utilized within their NorCal-based customers’ employee-shuttle fleet operation.

“Confined space and weight limitations were key challenges to product development, mandating a compact design that ultimately located the new HEPA system under-floor in a small portion of the baggage bay area, without compromising existing passenger cabin dimensions,” Brian Nelson, engineering manager at ABC’s Winter Garden facility, said.

The HEPA filtration unit is equipped with a HEPA filter, two pre-filters and two evaporator blowers that draw outside air through the filters which is then transferred to the TDX lower deck A/C unit where it is circulated throughout the interior of the coach. The new system is designed to offer a significant reduction in particle counts down to the smallest concentration with results being achieved within 20 minutes of operation. Conclusive testing revealed dramatically decreased dust in the interior cabin. Supporting data indicated a substantial drop in measurements in the following test ranges:

  • Particles up to 0.3 um dropped from 2500 to 500 in 20mins.
  • Particles up to 0.5 um dropped from 1000 to 180 in 20mins.
  • Particles up to 1 um dropped from 350 to 70 in 20mins.

“The new HEPA filtration system is designed to provide numerous benefits in terms of both air quality and equipment performance, specifically in static or heavily congested road conditions where traffic emissions from older vehicles are prevalent and can permeate the passenger cabin,” Nelson said.

In terms of maintenance and equipment performance, Tom Van Lokeren, engineering bus and coach HVAC specialist at Van Hool, said that HEPA filtration technology can contribute to optimal equipment performance by helping to maintain a cleaner coil so that other components, like fans and filters, can operate at nominal conditions as designed and potentially extend the service life of HVAC components.

ABC also offers another solution for improving passenger cabin air quality with a patented UV-C Disinfectant system for coaches. The Fresh-Aire UV® System offers heavy-duty germicidal UV technology inside the coach HVAC system, which is proven to inhibit the growth of mold and destroy up to 99 percent of microbial contaminants within one hour. The chemical-free purification technology is the same that is widely used in hospitals, laboratories and the food industry to prevent the spread of airborne infectious bacteria. The Fresh-Aire UV® System is available from ABC and offers an easy installation that can help operators simplify maintenance, reduce cleaning crew exposure to harsh chemicals and provide more efficient, optimized coach operation.

“ABC and Van Hool are focused on transforming great ideas into innovative solutions”,  Dane Cornell, CEO of ABC Companies, said. “We are excited to be at the forefront of shaping commercial applications that can lead to substantive change for our customers and our industry.”

This release originally appeared on the ABC Companies website. You can view it here.