Hydrogen buses for Birmingham

Hydrogen buses have launched in Aberdeen and it's almost lift-off when it comes to zero emissions public transport in the UK's second city

By Noah Dugall
Hydrogen buses are coming to Birmingham

Northern Ireland's Wightbus is bringing 20 of its world-first hydrogen double decker buses to Birmingham after striking a deal with the city council

The Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot looks to kick-start the hydrogen market as a viable zero-emission fuel with launch early next year of 20 hydrogen buses in Birmingham. The buses, made by Wrightbus, are the world's first zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell double deckers, and they'll be use from next April with National Express West Midlands.

It's hope this pilot will get more companies to switch to hydrogen buses, and generate more jobs in hydrogen production and re-fuelling infrastructure. Birmingham City Council has also collaborated with ITM, which will be producing and dispensing the hydrogen fuel from a new re-fuelling hub at Tyseley Energy Park.

Hydrogen buses use four times less fuel in comparison to standard diesel buses, covering 300 miles on a single tank and with the ability to refuel within 7-10 minutes. They emit water vapour, meaning no carbon dioxide or other harmful gases are pumped in to the air.

These buses should help tackle Birmingham's poor air quality and each bus is expected to save just under 80 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

Cllr Waseem Zaffar, the council's cabinet member for transport and environment, says the buses will decarbonise public transport in Birmingham.'It's taken us two years to get to a point where we can ensure commerical viability for this type of fuel cell technology..and this pilot is a significant step towards our net zero carbon target. It gives Birmingham a leading role in the debate on policies for zero emission public transport locally and nationally.

The buses are manufactured by Wrightbus, which is also supplying vehicles to Aberdeen and London. Jo Bamford of Wrightbus says the company is very proud of its work and partnerships: 'We have an opportunity with hydrogen-powered transport to make a huge difference to air quality.  

'This fleet of buses represents the start of what could be a world-leading UK hydrogen economy which will bring with it multi-million-pound investments and tens of thousands of jobs.'