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European cities speeding up fuel cell hydrogen buses deployment

20/01/14

The first steps towards the development of a European Network of Clean Hydrogen Bus Centres of Excellence have been taken by Aberdeen City Council, and the transport authorities of Riviera Transporti in Liguria, De Lijn in Flanders, which are jointly working on deployment of fuel cell buses as part of the EU co-financed High V.LO City project.

The High V.LO-City Centres of Excellence are intended to be a point of reference on the deployment and operation of fuel cell buses in public transport and to reach out to public transport authorities, bus operators, and passengers' organisations, as well as to the general public. The Centres of Excellence will be key to linking potential fuel cell bus sites to existing ones that are already operating fuel cell bus projects.

Supported by the regions of Flanders, Liguria and the City of Aberdeen, and co-financed by the EU Joint Undertaking for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH- JU), the project is deploying highly efficient fuel cell hydrogen buses, linking them with existing locations throughout Europe. The project is known under the acronym "High V.LO-City", referring to its objective to accelerate the integration of hydrogen buses in public fleets throughout Europe.

Building on the commitments of the public transport operators of the project demonstration sites, San Remo (five buses), Antwerp (five buses) and Aberdeen (four buses), the High V.LO-City project will demonstrate the economic and technical viability of these buses and of intelligent infrastructure solutions, to speed up a broader market introduction in the next few years.

The High V.LO-City project partners officially committed to the establishment of the Centres of Excellence at the Busworld Academy meeting on Friday, 17 January at the Rumbeke Castle in Roeselare, also known as the Water Castle. Through collaboration with the Busworld Academy, High V.LO-City seeks to reach an important target audience of bus operators and transport authorities, as well as passengers' organisations.

Paul Jenné, High V.LO-City project coordinator, said: "It is of paramount importance to learn and share information with relevant stakeholders on the performance of the fuel cell and hydrogen technologies in public transport. The European Network of Clean Hydrogen Bus Centres of Excellence is an essential step in this direction. As project coordinator we are very pleased to see that the public transport operators and cities of the project are committed to the Centres of Excellence."

Councillor Barney Crockett, leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: "We are determined to define the image of an international 21st century energy city and to lead a leaner, cleaner industrial revolution.

"Hydrogen technology and transport will play a large part in that vision and the council and its partners have a strong role to play in realising that vision. Aberdeen is world-famous for its expertise in offshore oil and gas production. Those skills are finding root in offshore renewables. We're now adding the third component – a hydrogen economy.

"We are absolutely committed to ensuring that Aberdeen continues to play a leading role in the development of hydrogen technologies and infrastructure and to demonstrating the benefits of green transport."

Roger Kesteloot, Director General of the Flemish bus operators company, De Lijn, said: "De Lijn is close to its passengers and offers an extensive range of sustainable and high-quality transport solution. With the 5 fuel cell buses to be operated in Antwerp, we will gain experience in the daily operation of fuel cell buses and are committed to share our knowledge and best practices with interested transport authorities through the Centre of Excellence to be established in Antwerp."

Sandro Corrado, CEO of the Italian bus operator Rivera Trasporti, said: "Riviera Transporti has been committed to clean technologies for a long time, currently operating a fleet of trolleybuses (electric buses) that however has significant infrastructure maintenance costs. Thanks to High V.LO-City, we will substitute part of our trolley bus fleet with fuel cell buses. We are pleased to share our experience with interested transport authorities through the new Centre of Excellence in San Remo."

Stefan Meersseman, president of Busworld Academy, said: "We are very pleased to collaborate with High V.LO-City and to witness the commitment of the High V.LO-City operators and cities at the occasion of our second Busworld Academy meeting in Roeselare. As a network of transport operators, we look forward to discovering the benefits and challenges of clean technologies such as the fuel cell and hydrogen technologies in public transport."