London welcomes hydrogen double decker buses

30 July 2021

England’s first hydrogen powered double decker buses have been launched by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as a major step forward in the plan to make the capital’s bus fleet zero-emission.

The 20 new environmentally friendly buses will produce no pollution from their exhausts and join more than 500 electric buses in the core fleet which are already zero-emission.

The buses were manufactured by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland and the gas cylinders are manufactured by Luxfer in Nottingham. The hydrogen for the buses is currently being produced at Air Liquide’s plant in Runcorn, harnessing waste hydrogen as a by-product from an industrial chlor-alkali plant.

A state-of-the-art fuelling station, completed by Danish engineering firm Nel Hydrogen, will top up each hydrogen fuel cell bus just once per day in as little as five minutes, Transport for London (TfL) explained.

In addition to around £6 million of funding from TfL, more than £5 million has been provided by European bodies — the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, and the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), an executive agency of the European Commission. £1 million has also been put into the project by the Office of Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).

Mr 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.”

TfL has paved the way for cheaper hydrogen buses across the rest of the UK, having led the UK procurement within the Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE), to buy in bulk with other UK authorities.

In total, the JIVE project seeks to deploy 139 new zero-emission fuel cell buses and associated refuelling infrastructure across five European countries.