World’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker bus launched as UK fuel investments continue
Wrightbus developed the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker bus and has already carried passengers to the West Midlands. Birmingham City Council’s 20 zero-emission double-decker trains began service on the National Express West Midlands 51 to Walsall via Perry Barr in mid-December.
Outside of London, these are the only hydrogen buses operating in England.
They were purchased as part of the City Council’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot, which plays a leading role in the zero-emission logistics market.
It is hoped that this step will be the catalyst for the next generation of hydrogen buses, hydrogen production and the development of refueling infrastructure.
Councilor Waseem Zaffar, a member of Birmingham City Council’s transport and environment cabinet, praised the project.
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It is estimated that these 20 hydrogen buses will save 631 kg of toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions per year.
It will also prevent 1,560 tonnes of carbon from escaping into the atmosphere.
They can travel 300 km with a single tank, with refueling time typically between seven and 10 minutes.
Drivers need to be specially trained to drive hydrogen buses as they behave differently from combustion engine buses.
Bus drivers learn to conserve fuel cell charge as long as possible to extend the distance the vehicle can travel before needing to refuel.
Neil Collins, Wrightbus MD, said it was fantastic to see the buses in passenger service for the first time in Birmingham.
He said: “We are incredibly proud of the role Wrightbus is playing in the race to Net Zero. About 70 percent of the buses we produce next year will be zero-emission vehicles.
“Our Hydroliners have already kept over 1.3 million kg of CO2 from entering the atmosphere compared to the same journeys made in diesel buses, totaling over 782,000 miles in the process.
“Birmingham’s Hydroliner buses will help keep even more harmful emissions from entering the city’s air, for the benefit of passengers and local residents.”
It comes as a number of automakers are seeing hydrogen as a realistic option for fueling vehicles once the 2030 ban on the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles goes into effect.
The government released its UK hydrogen strategy in August, which outlined plans for using hydrogen in transport in the future.
He announced funding worth £ 23million to support the Hydrogen for Transport program which aims to support its use specifically for transport.
Automakers like Toyota and Hyundai are already investing in hydrogen as an alternative fuel with their Mirai and NEXO vehicles respectively.
Although there are very few hydrogen refueling stations in the UK, it is hoped that the investment from automakers and Bosch will initiate a hydrogen revolution, similar to mass investment in electric vehicles. .
Bosch is also set to invest £ 800million in fuel cell and truck development with the aim of upgrading technology on offer in the UK.