The commercialisation of fuel cell buses continues to progress in Europe, with more fuel cell buses to be deployed in the next few months and years. While the earliest deployment projects are now delivering their final results (CHIC), more studies are published (NewBusFuel) and a new large scale deployment project has been launched (JIVE).
CHIC and NewBusFuel are two European project which received funding from the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) which came to an end respectiviely in December 2016 and March 2017. Both projects published reports which will be of great interest for local authorities or bus operators who are thinking about deploying fuel cell buses in the near future.
CHIC project – final report
The Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) Project was the crucial next step for the full commercialisation of hydrogen powered fuel cell buses. The project commenced in 2010 with an initial 25, subsequently 23 partners from Cities, Regions, Industry and Research Organisations. The CHIC project was the predecessor of the High V.LO-City project.
The project was completed in December 2016. CHIC operated 54 hydrogen fuel cell (H2FC) buses and 4 hydrogen powered internal combustion engine buses in 9 cities in Europe and Canada. The buses were delivered by 5 different bus manufacturers and had fuel cells from two different suppliers.
The final report for the project has now been published. This report gives an overview of the CHIC project and describes the key results and achievements. The full report is available here.
NewBusFuel – Summary document and guidance document
NewBusFuel was a study which aimed to resolve the knowledge gap for establishment of large scale hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for fuel cell buses. The study started in summer 2015 and finished in March 2017, and has assessed the central technology- and engineering solutions required for the refuelling of a large number of hydrogen fuel cell buses at a single bus depot, which is under way to evolve into fleet development in the coming years. Large scale bus depot refuelling imposes significant new challenges.
The JIVE (Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe) project seeks to deploy 139 new zero emission fuel cell buses and associated refuelling infrastructure across five countries. JIVE will run for six years from January 2017 and is co-funded by a 32 million euro grant from the FCH JU (Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) under the European Union Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation.
The overall objective of JIVE is to advance the commercialisation of fuel cell buses through large-scale deployment of vehicles and infrastructure so that by the end of the project, fuel cell buses are commercially viable for bus operators to include in their fleets without subsidy, and that local and national governments feel empowered to regulate for zero emission propulsion for their public transport systems. JIVE will introduce new fleets of fuel cell buses into urban and regional bus operations at an unprecedented scale. This will be made possible by multiple cities and regions collaborating in joint procurement processes, allowing large orders to be placed with single bus suppliers. The procurement activities are organised into three clusters and by clustering geographically, it is possible to provide common specifications for the buses, which is essential to unlock the economies of scale.
The procurement processes have already started in Germany/South Tyrol and in the UK. Ben Madden, Director of Element Energy, coordinator of the project, said: “The launch of this joint procurement exercise is an important milestone for the JIVE project and the fuel cell bus sector as a whole. Taking a coordinated approach to purchasing large numbers of these buses should deliver increased standardisation and significant cost reductions, allowing the cities to realise their ambitious zero emission bus adoption plans. We are delighted to have helped start this programme and look forward to continuing to support the partners in delivering the project.”