Hydrogen powered buses will soon be introduced in the Liverpool City Region following a successful joint bid with the city of Aberdeen.
In the near future, the Liverpool City Region will become the first city the North of England where you can catch a diesel-electric hybrid, battery, compressed natural gas or hydrogen-powered bus following a successful £6.4 million bid to the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
A consortium led by industrial gases company BOC, and including the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Arcola Energy, working with bus-makers Alexander Dennis, and will be progressed in conjunction with Arriva and Stagecoach, as members of the city region’s Bus Alliance.
The successful bid is part of a wider scheme, where a total of 35 buses have been ordered by the consortium. Some 25 Alexander Dennis Enviro400 H2s for the North West and ten integral Wrightbus StreetDecks for operation in Aberdeen are expected after successful bids of the £14m government fund for hydrogen fuel cell technology.
A hydrogen-powered Enviro400 demonstrator, registered SN15 LRU, has been tested in Liverpool ahead of the main trial next year. Emitting nothing but water from their exhausts, fuel will be provided from a new hydrogen refuelling station at the BOC plant in St Helens.
These buses will contribute to the city region’s plans both to improve air quality and work towards a zero carbon economy by 2040. The first bus trial is expected to take place in 2020, subject to agreement with the Bus Alliance.
The new hydrogen refuelling station will initially deliver 500kg of hydrogen every day. Crucially, the project aims to demonstrate the commercial viability of a model that installs refuellers for high-use fleets to develop a network for future use by passenger cars and other vehicles.
In addition, the Liverpool City Region has received a further £2.5 million from a separate government fund, bringing the total to £8.9 million.
This second successful bid will enable the conversion of a further 129 buses in the region to Euro VI emissions standards. Last year, the combined authority received a £3m grant, which enabled the conversion of around 150 vehicles.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “With a low-carbon economy worth more than £2 billion a year, we are already in the vanguard of the green energy revolution and the Liverpool City Region Hydrogen Bus Project is another very exciting step in that direction.
“Introducing commercially-viable hydrogen-powered buses would not only help our city region tackle poor air quality and achieve our ambition of being zero carbon by 2040 but would put us at the forefront of a technology that could be transformative for the rest of the country and beyond.”
Jan Ellringmann, BOC Head of Sales & Marketing, added: “As the market leader in industrial gases in the UK, BOC has produced hydrogen safely and efficiently for many decades, including from our site at St Helens. As pioneers of hydrogen’s use in low-carbon transport – commercial vehicles and cars as well as buses – BOC is delighted to be working with the project partners to help bring cleaner air to Liverpool City Region.”
Ben Todd, CEO of Arcola Energy said, “We are excited to see the ambition that the Liverpool City Region has for clean transport and delighted that the city region will be the site for the first fleet of zero emission buses using our innovative hydrogen and fuel cell technology. We are in the process of setting up our production facility here and I am personally looking forward to seeing both fleets of zero emission buses and new high-value manufacturing being established in my home town.”
Billy McFie, Commercial Director, Alexander Dennis Ltd, said: “We are pleased to be collaborating with Liverpool City Region on this exciting project as it underlines our commitment to delivering a range of low and zero emission technologies for all operational requirements.”
Howard Farrall, Arriva Merseyside managing director, said “At Arriva we are continually looking for ways to ensure our vehicles are as environmentally-friendly as possible. We are delighted that the Liverpool City Region is once again leading the way with bus innovation and we are happy to take part in this project.”
Rob Jones, Managing Director of Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire, said: “Stagecoach is a business that’s passionate about cutting emissions and we are continually innovating to deliver cleaner, greener travel. All our vehicles are fitted with eco-driving systems which lower emissions and we’ve shown the biggest commitment to using 100 per cent biofuel of any UK bus operator.
“We’re delighted to be working closely with our Bus Alliance partners to develop and pioneer new approaches in sustainable travel and ensure the Liverpool City Region meets its carbon neutral targets and continues to set a direction for sustainable travel which will be an inspiration for cities across the North.”