Wednesday 23 June 2021 6:00 am

London launches England's first hydrogen-powered double decker buses

Daily news reporter in City A.M.'s London newsroom

Transport for London (TFL) will today add 20 new environmentally friendly hydrogen double decker buses to its fleet.

Launched by London mayor Sadiq Khan in Ealing, the buses will provide commuters with smoother, quieter journeys thanks to less vibrations. Free-to-use USB charging ports will also be available onboard.

They will join more than 500 electric and over 3800 hybrid buses in TFL’s 9000-strong fleet.

Khan said: “Our investment in these hydrogen buses is not only helping us to clean up London’s air, but is supporting jobs and local economics across the UK. This is a great demonstration of how tackling air pollution and the climate crisis and boosting economic growth is about regions working together, investing in the very latest technology.”

The new buses, built in Northern Ireland, produce only water vapour.

They will run on hydrogen cells from a plant in Runcorn, using waste hydrogen from an industrial plant. A greener process will be used from 2023, with cells being produced through electrolysis powered by an offshore windfarm.

Each bus will need to be refuelled just once a day, taking as little as five minutes, at a new fuelling station in Ealing.

In January, TfL announced London’s buses meet or exceed the cleanest Euro VI emissions standards. Diesel buses are also being phased out of the fleet and older buses have been retrofitted, reducing harmful NOx emissions from buses by an average of 90 per cent.

However, TfL interim director of buses Geoff Hobbs says more can be done: 

“London may have one of the cleanest bus fleets in Europe, but we need to continue to act now to tackle climate change and the city’s toxic air quality. Introducing these hydrogen double decker buses to our fleet, alongside electric buses, diversifies our green bus portfolio and helps us use the right technology for the varying operational requirements of our vast network. This will help Londoners breathe cleaner air.”

London will not be the first city to introduce hydrogen double deckers. Aberdeen’s five-year hydrogen bus trial in 2015 was the most successful in Europe, racking up around 1.2m miles.

TfL has not stated if it plans to add more hydrogen buses to its fleet.

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