Refuelling supplier named for London's hydrogen buses

Transport for London has signed a £3.4 million contract with Air Products to provide hydrogen fuel for the Capital's planned fleet of hydrogen buses and to build and maintain the hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

Last November, Transport for London placed an order with US company ISE for ten hydrogen buses: five with fuel cells and five with hydrogen internal combustion engines. All will be hybrids, incorporating battery technology to make the most efficient use of hydrogen and extend their range and operating hours. The vehicles will be operated by First on behalf of TfL.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: "Hydrogen-fuelled buses are cleaner and more efficient than traditional diesel-fuelled buses, and provide a smoother, quieter ride for passengers. Using hydrogen in the capital's bus fleet will improve London's air quality and will not produce harmful emissions that are causing catastrophic climate change."

The £3.4 million contract with Air Products covers the cost of installing, operating and maintaining the infrastructure necessary to power ten hydrogen buses. Air Products will also supply the hydrogen fuel, at a cost to be determined by market rates when the buses enter into service.

The fuel will be produced in Rotterdam and transported to London in a specially-designed road tanker. Diana Raine, Air Products UK sales manager for hydrogen energy systems, says that on-site production was evaluated, but there were inefficiencies in down-scaling the methane reforming process.

Unusually, the tanker will incorporate vaporisation equipment, so although the hydrogen will be transported as a liquid it can be delivered as a low, medium or high-pressure gas for on-site storage. Raines said this would be a first in the UK.

Transport for London previously took part in the CUTE (Cleaner Urban Transport for Europe) project designed to test hydrogen technology in different cities in the EU and in the one-year extension of the trial, known as Hy:FLEET CUTE. The trial saw three hydrogen-powered fuel cell buses running on the RV1 route in London for three years.

Image: London already has hybrid buses, but the next generation will run on hydrogen

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