Image: Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council launched the first of 20 new hydrogen buses that will enter service later this year.

The new buses are part of the Council’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot, which aims to ‘kick-start’ the hydrogen market as a viable zero-emission fuel source.

Hailed as another way to address the city’s poor air quality and a critical step toward the council’s net zero carbon goal.

Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Waseem Zaffar said: “Fuel cell buses offer a practical solution for cities to decarbonise public transport and immediately improve air quality.

“The delivery of the first bus is great news for our city and the rest of the region. It means that we can now work with our partners at National Express to start testing the buses, training drivers and adding livery design before rolling the buses out for the public in Autumn this year.

“This is a significant step towards our net zero carbon target and will provide Birmingham with a leading role in informing debate on supportive policies for zero emission public transport at a local and national level.”

The Wrightbus buses are the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell double deckers. They will be operated by National Express in Birmingham – the first in England (outside of London).

Birmingham’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot is designed to serve as a catalyst for the development of the next generation of hydrogen buses, hydrogen production, and refueling infrastructure.

It was funded by the OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles), the GBSLEP (Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership), Birmingham City Council, and JIVE project funding from the FCH JU (European Funding from the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) under grant agreement No. 735582. The FCH JU is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation initiative, as well as by Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research.

Additionally, the council has partnered with ITM, which will produce and distribute hydrogen fuel from the new refuelling hub at Tyseley Energy Park.

Nedim Husomanovic

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