A further 15 fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs) are planned for the UK this year, as the country works towards its goal of deploying 4,000 zero emission buses over the next five years.
In an ongoing partnership, bus manufacturer Wrightbus has ordered another 15 85KW heavy-duty FCveloCity®-HD fuel cell modules from Ballard Power Systems.
Announcing the deal today, Ballard said it currently has orders in-hand from Wrightbus for a total of 50 modules to power FCEBs in the UK, 35 of which were previously announced in 2019.
Of those 35 modules, 20 are to power buses planned for deployment in London and 15 are for buses planned for deployment in Aberdeen. Ballard expects to ship all 50 modules in 2020.
Earlier this year, the UK Government’s Department for Transport (DfT) announced a five-year, £5bn ($6.4bn) plan to enhance bus and bicycle infrastructure in the country, together with deployment of at least 4,000 zero-emission buses, with further details expected in a National Bus Strategy to be published later in 2020.
The case for using sustainably produced hydrogen in transportation to further the UK’s climate and air quality objectives is presented in a June 2020 report from The Centre for Policy Studies, titled Driving Change: How hydrogen can fuel a transport revolution.
Jo Bamford, Owner of Wrightbus, said, “Cities around the world are seeing massive reductions in air pollution as many vehicles have been kept off the road during the pandemic.”
“However, the reality is that if we just go back to how public transport has traditionally been run, levels of pollution will quickly rise again to the same levels as before the crisis.”
“We have an opportunity, working with Ballard’s leading-edge technology, to build hydrogen powered buses that will make a huge difference to air quality, as well as generating UK jobs.”
“Therefore, our organisation is strongly encouraging DfT to provide funding support for the deployment of 3,000 FCEBs, as part of the UK’s National Bus Strategy.”
Ballard, Wrightbus and Ryse Hydrogen – also a Bamford-owned business – are founding members of the H2Bus Consortium, announced in June 2019 and focused on deployment of at least 1,000 zero-emission FCEBs and related infrastructure in European cities at commercially competitive rates.
Ryse Hydrogen is working toward the creation of a green hydrogen ecosystem for the production, distribution and dispensing of clean hydrogen fuel.
Randy MacEwen, Ballard CEO, commented, “These buses will meet a number of important requirements – including extended range and rapid refuelling – in addition to being highly beneficial from an environmental perspective.”
“The bold plan from the UK’s Department for Transport represents a significant leading edge of the anticipated rapid growth in zero-emission fuel cell-powered buses as we move forward in Europe.”