Birmingham City Council has bought 20 hydrogen double decker buses as part of a pilot aiming to “kick-start” the hydrogen market.
The Council’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot is intended to be the catalyst for the next generation of hydrogen buses, hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure development.
Made by Wrightbus, the buses will be introduced with National Express West Midlands in April 2021.
Each bus is expected to save up to 79.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum.
Birmingham City Council is also collaborating with ITM Power, who will be producing and dispensing the hydrogen fuel from the new refuelling hub at Tyseley Energy Park.
“Fuel cell buses offer a practical solution for cities to decarbonise public transport and immediately improve air quality,” Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Waseem Zaffar, said.
“It has taken us two years to get to a point where we can ensure commercial viability for this type of fuel cell technology and is great news for our city and the rest of the region.”
“This pilot is a significant step towards our net zero carbon target and will provide Birmingham with a leading role in informing debate on supportive policies for zero emission public transport at a local and national level.”
Hydrogen buses consume four times less fuel in comparison to standard diesel buses, covering 300 miles on a single tank and with the ability to refuel within seven to 10 minutes.
They emit water vapour, meaning no carbon dioxide or other harmful gases are being pumped into the air.
Jo Bamford, Owner and Chairman of Wrightbus, commented, “We’re incredibly proud that these buses hold the title of being the world’s first zero emission hydrogen fuel cell double deckers, and we’re delighted that Birmingham City Council has recognised the benefits that this technology can bring to the city.”
“We have an opportunity with hydrogen-powered transport to make a huge difference to air quality, but this fleet of buses represents much more than Birmingham striving to reach a clean air, zero-carbon future.”
“It represents the start of what could be a world-leading UK hydrogen economy which will bring with it multi-million-pound investments and tens of thousands of jobs.”