Hydrogen buses begin operation across London

London has launched England’s first fleet of hydrogen double-decker buses, as it seeks to make the UK capital’s public transport system a zero-emission one, cleaning up London’s “toxic” air.

The 20 new environmentally-friendly buses will produce no pollution from their exhausts and join more than 500 electric buses in the core fleet which are already zero-emission.

Hydrogen used in a fuel cell is free from harmful emissions. The only by-product is water from the chemical reaction of hydrogen with oxygen from air, a process that produces electricity to power the bus.

“The buses will help clean up the air and improve the health of Londoners by reducing the level of harmful nitrogen oxide in the air,” said a spokesman. “Passengers will benefit from smoother, quieter journeys due to fewer vibrations and will be able to take advantage of free-to-use USB charging points.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (pic) officially launched the buses yesterday. A new, state of the art fuelling station will top up each hydrogen fuel cell bus just once per day in as little as five minutes.

In addition to around £6 million of funding from TfL, more than £5 million of funding has been provided by European bodies – by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, and the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), an executive agency of the European Commission – as well as £1 million from the Office of Zero Emission Vehicles.

TfL has led the UK procurement within the Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE), to buy in bulk with other UK authorities. In total, the JIVE project seeks to deploy 139 new zero-emission fuel cell buses and associated refuelling infrastructure across five European countries and has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

With financial support from the UK Government, TfL could look to accelerate its plans for a zero-emission bus fleet from 2037 to 2030 in order to reduce carbon emissions and address the public health emergency caused by dirty air.

Khan said: “We have made real progress in London to clean up our air, but we still have a long way to go because toxic air pollution in our city is still leading to thousands of premature deaths every year and is stunting the growth of children’s lungs. As part of our world-leading ongoing efforts, I’m proud to announce England’s first hydrogen double decker buses, which don’t produce any harmful emissions, will now be put into service.

“Our investment in these hydrogen buses is not only helping us to clean up London’s air, but is supporting jobs and local economics across the UK. This is a great demonstration of how tackling air pollution and the climate crisis and boosting economic growth is about regions working together, investing in the very latest technology. “

Interim Director of Buses, Transport for London, Geoff Hobbs said: “London may have one of the cleanest bus fleets in Europe, but we need to continue to act now to tackle climate change and the city’s toxic air quality. Introducing these hydrogen double decker buses to our fleet, alongside electric buses, diversifies our green bus portfolio and helps us use the right technology for the varying operational requirements of our vast network. This will help Londoners breathe cleaner air.”

The 20 new environmentally-friendly buses will produce no pollution from their exhausts and join more than 500 electric buses in the core fleet which are already zero-emission.

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