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Hydrogen buses set for London; five new biomethane refuelling stations to open

Thu 23 May 2019 | Back to news list | More bus news

Transport for London has ordered 20 new hydrogen fuel cell buses to run in the capital. Meanwhile, CNG Fuels has announced that five new biomethane refuelling stations will open to serve HGV fleet operators who want to make the switch from diesel.

Twenty British-built zero-emission hydrogen buses will arrive in London in 2020. They will be the world's first hydrogen double decker buses and will be introduced on three London bus routes.

The vehicles will be introduced on routes 245, 7 and N7, serving people traveling to Wembley Stadium, or from west London to the West End.

TfL is investing £12m in the new buses - produced by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland - and the fuelling infrastructure. More than £5 million of funding is being provided by European bodies and £1 million from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

To encourage the take-up of hydrogen fuel cell technology in other cities in the UK and Europe, TfL is leading procurement within the 'Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe' (JIVE) project. JIVE aims to bring down the cost of the vehicles by buying in bulk with other authorities - helping put the price per bus on a par with the other cleanest fuels.

Hydrogen buses can store more energy on board than equivalent buses, meaning they can be deployed on longer routes. They only need to be refuelled once a day for five minutes, making them much quicker to power up when compared with current battery-electric buses.

TfL currently has a total of 165 zero emission buses, with a further 68 electric double deckers due to be on the roads by the summer.  TfL has also recently announced that the route 323 will become fully electric next year, along with two further routes, to be announced soon.

Meanwhile, CNG Fuels has announced the starting of construction of two new public access renewable biomethane compressed natural gas (Bio-CNG) refuelling stations. The new stations will increase capacity by 500% to meet demand from hauliers seeking to cut carbon emissions, pollution and haulage costs.

The new public access Bio-CNG stations are two of five planned to open in 2019. They will serve major truck routes and cities, and will be able to refuel up to 3000 HGVs a day. They are additions to the company’s existing stations at Leyland, Lancashire and Crewe, Cheshire, which can refuel more than 600 vehicles daily.

100% of the fuel supplied by CNG Fuels is renewable and sustainable biomethane approved under the Department for Transport’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) scheme. The gas is sourced from waste feedstocks such as food waste. The company says its fuels cut vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 85% and is 35%-40% cheaper than diesel.

Note: The LowCVP Annual Conference, July 8, Westminster will focus on future fuels. Hydrogen and Bio-CNG will be two of the options under discussion as the UK seeks to cut CO2 and polluting emissions. While electrification of much of the road transport sector is well under way, ICE engines are likely to be around for some time to come and there remain 'hard-to-electrify' applications like long-haul freight transport. More details on the LowCVP Conference are here.

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