Zero-polluting hydrogen buses that emit only water vapour have been unveiled in London, providing a boost to plans to improve the English capital’s air quality. The first of a planned fleet of eight will start operating on 18 December using the latest hydrogen fuel cell technology. The buses will form the only hydrogen bus fleet in the UK and the largest currently in Europe.
These state-of-the-art vehicles were specifically designed for Transport for London (TfL) using pioneering technology developed by ISE, Wrightbus and Ballard. All eight buses are expected to be phased into operation next year creating the UK’s first zero-emission bus route.
The RV1 route passes through some of London’s most polluted areas, so its conversion to hydrogen power will help to improve London’s air quality. The buses are joining one of the cleanest, lowest polluting bus fleets in Europe which also includes 100 hybrid buses.
This is set to expand to 300 and, from 2012, will be joined by the Mayor’s New Bus for London, which will be 40% less polluting than a traditional diesel bus.
The buses will run from a specially designed maintenance facility housed in First’s Lea Interchange bus depot at Stratford in east London. This will include the UK’s largest permanent hydrogen refuelling station to be maintained by Air Products.