Dutch Scientists Develop World’s First Vehicle To Run On Formic Acid

Dutch scientist have stung  the world of smart mobility with the unveiling of the first electric passenger vehicle to run on formic acid.  Formic acid is the poison carried in the stings of ants, wasps and nettles.


Computer - generated image of the bus and trailer from Team FAST

Sustainable fuel

Team Fast, a multidisciplinary student team from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e ) have built a prototype bus, which uses formic acid to generate hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Formic acid is basically a sustainable liquid that stores hydrogen but having more benefits compared to hydrogen and electric powered vehicles.

Formic acid – so called because ants (formica in Latin) and other insects can produce it – offers the possibility to store hydrogen easily.


Max Aerts, head of the development team, said formeric acid was a cost-effective way to create hydrogen as fuel. 'The big advantage of formic acid is that you can put it in the fuel tank', he said. 'The cost of rebuilding a petroal station is relatively low.'

Easily adaptable fuel

Team Fast sees possibilities for these reaction to take place in a car, whereby hydrogen is used to power a fuel cell. For the consumer using formic acid will be like using gasoline. This similarity will also ensure that formic acid can easily be incorporated into the existing fuel infrastructure, next to that, formic acid can be much more widely applied as an energy carrier; solar and wind energy can also be stored in formic acid, and then used when required.

It's expected that the first buses aqdapted for formic acid will be running on the roads within one to four years.