Saturday 11 December 2010

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses in London

Whilst certainly not the first its good to see London starting the long long route to phase out diesel buses. With plenty of good results in China, Australia and Germany these vehicles are a step in the right direction. However to replace all of London's buses is a multi-billion £ project likely to take 20 years or more. However their press release below is encouraging. Though as a practical interim step LPG should be considered

Zero-polluting hydrogen buses that emit only water were unveiled today in London, providing a boost to the Mayor's plans to improve the capital's air quality.

Trialled H Bus 2003-2007
The first of the buses, of a planned fleet of eight, will start operating on 18 December using the latest hydrogen fuel cell technology, emitting nothing but water vapour. The buses will form the only hydrogen bus fleet in the UK and the largest currently in Europe. These state-of-the-art vehicles were specifically designed for Transport for London using pioneering technology developed by ISE, Wrightbus and Ballard. All eight buses are expected to be phased into operation next year creating the UK's first zero-emission bus route.

The buses will join one of the cleanest, lowest polluting bus fleets in Europe which also includes 100 hybrid buses set to expand to 300 and from 2012 will be joined by the Mayor's New Bus for London, which will be 40% less polluting than a traditional diesel bus.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: "These buses are a marvel of hydrogen technology, emitting only water rather than belching out harmful pollutants. They will run through the most polluted part of the city, through two air pollution hotspots, helping to improve London's air quality. This is just another way that our city is harnessing pioneering low emission public transport to improve quality of life, whether the New Bus for London, electric vehicles or my public bike hire scheme."

David Brown, Managing Director for Surface Transport at TfL, said: "London faces many environmental challenges but we believe alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, will bring genuine long term benefits in tackling CO2 emissions. The arrival of these hydrogen hybrid fuel cell buses marks an exciting new chapter for London Buses as we embrace new technologies to further build on the excellent work we are doing to improve air quality for Londoners."

London has always been at the forefront in using and developing new technology, initially pioneering hydrogen buses in the UK when it took part in the Cleaner Urban Transport for Europe (CUTE) trial from December 2003 to January 2007. TfL operated three trial hydrogen buses on the route RV1, using findings from these trials and that of European partners to seek out these suppliers who have developed these next generation hydrogen fuel cell buses to operate in central London.

This next generation technology will be phased into service on route RV1 from Saturday 18 December whilst driver training takes place, with all the buses fully entering service in 2011.

The buses are jointly funded by TfL, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the European Union via the Clean Hydrogen in Cities (CHIC) project.

Fleet of London Buses
The London Hydrogen Partnership (LHP) launched an action plan earlier this year setting out ambitions to create a 'Hydrogen network' by 2012, to help accelerate the wider use of this zero-polluting, zero-carbon energy.

The LHP is working with London boroughs and private landowners on plans to deliver six refuelling sites to run hydrogen-powered vehicles in the capital over the next two years. It also aims to encourage a minimum of 150 hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road in London by 2012 including 15 hydrogen powered taxis


  1. Yeah, except there is no such thing as "zero polluting; zero emissions" and fuel cells are included. Where does all that hydrogen come from? It has to be produced from electrolysis of water using a huge amount of electricity, or from thermal decomposition of water or organic compounds, again, using energy to produce heat somewhere. There is no free ride. Sure, this is great for local air quality, but why not discuss all the facts?

  2. Hi,

    I came across your blog whilst searching for information on Bio Fuel, I have bookmarked you...

    I would really appreciate your readers taking a look at this short video which shows how anyone can refine thier own first generation biofuel!

    I have really been inspired to do more by your site!

    Warm Regards,