Birmingham City Council has purchased 20 new hydrogen double decker buses as part of their Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot.
The Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot looks to ‘kick-start’ the hydrogen market as a viable zero-emission fuel with the procurement and deployment of 20 hydrogen buses in Birmingham.
The buses, which are made by Wrightbus and are the world's first zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell double deckers, will be introduced with National Express West Midlands from April 2021.
The council have also collaborated with ITM, who will be producing and dispensing the hydrogen fuel from the new re-fuelling hub at Tyseley Energy Park.
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 7-10 minutes.
They emit water vapour, meaning no carbon dioxide or other harmful gases are being pumped in to the air. Each bus is expected to save up to 79.3 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per annum.
Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for Transport and Environment, Cllr Waseem Zaffar said: ‘I’m delighted that we will be introducing hydrogen buses to Birmingham next year. Fuel cell buses offer a practical solution for cities to decarbonise public transport and immediately improve air quality.
‘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.’
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.’
It has been funded through OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles), GBSLEP (Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership), Birmingham City Council and JIVE project funding from the FCH JU (European Funding from the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) under grant agreement No 735582.
The FCH JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research.
Once launched, the Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot will be monitored and reviewed to analyse and ensure the ongoing commercial and operational viability of hydrogen buses, to enable a continued roll out of hydrogen fuel cell technology within bus fleets, as part of the city’s commitment to the environment and cleaner air.