Köln, Germany was the setting for the formal launch of a €125M collaborative project set to deploy 144 hydrogen fuel cell buses (JIVE project) and seven large hydrogen refuelling stations (MEHRLIN project) across Europe.
These projects represent a step change for the hydrogen bus sector, moving from a technology demonstration stage to a day to day offering for zero emission public transport. These hydrogen fuel cell buses will offer the same operational flexibility compared to the incumbent diesel buses, without any harmful exhaust fumes. As such they represent a solution to the twin problems of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from public transport in our cities.
The scale of deployment envisaged here will allow European bus manufacturers to develop their production capabilities and achieve the economies of scale which are needed to allow fuel cell buses to compete with other zero emission modes of public transport. Likewise, the project will show how hydrogen refuelling stations with large daily demands can be commercially viable, providing valuable operational feedback to station operators and equipment manufacturers, whilst demonstrating the reliability and availability required for public transport operations.
The JIVE project, supported by a €32M grant from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), a public-private partnership aiming at accelerating commercialisation of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies, has been developed and will be coordinated by Element Energy and is based on a partnership of public transport providers who will work together to procure the buses and refuelling stations from European suppliers. Buses will be deployed in five European countries in the following cities and regions: Region Köln, Wuppertal and Rhein-Main in Germany, London, Birmingham, Dundee and Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, South Tyrol in Italy, Riga in Latvia and Slagelse in Denmark.
The JIVE deployment partners will be supported by data analysis and consulting organisations (led by Thinkstep and PLANET) to ensure that the performance of the buses is monitored and can be rigorously compared against the incumbent diese buses and other zero emission alternatives. Communication will be led by Hydrogen Europe, working with UITP (International Association of Public Transport) will ensure that these lessons are spread across Europe’s bus operator community. The full list of the 22 JIVE partners is provided below.
The MEHRLIN project, supported by a €5.5M grant from the European Commission's Connecting Europe Facility (Transport) programme managed by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency, aims to demonstrate a new demand-led commercial model for the deployment of hydrogen refuelling stations. The project, coordinated by Element Energy, involves a study of the real-life operation of large-scale hydrogen stations in seven different locations; with stations in Germany (Hürth, Wermelskirchen [Cologne Region] and Wuppertal), Italy (Bruneck/Brunico), the Netherlands (Oude Tongue – South Rotterdam), and the UK (London and Birmingham). All of the stations are situated on Europe’s TEN-T core network corridors. The studies will be focusing on the financing of stations (bankability) and on technical, environmental, economic and regulatory performances of hydrogen refuelling stations. Dissemination events will be organised in the countries where stations are located.
FCH JU Executive Director - Bart Biebuyck, local host: RVK’s Chairman of the Supervisory Board and District Administrator, Mr. Rosenke, European Commission DG MOVE Policy Officer, Jose Fernandez-Garcia, and INEA Senior Project Manager - Stefano Campagnolo, all met in Köln, joined by the project partners, to welcome the launch of the JIVE and MEHRLIN projects, which together provide the funding underpinning this step-change deployment project.
Ben Madden, Director of Element Energy – “We are delighted to have helped start this project which has the potential to transform the hydrogen fuel cell bus sector. Previous projects have proved that hydrogen fuel cell bus technology is technically ready and able to meet the needs of public transport operators on all routes. This project delivers a step-change in scale which allows manufacturers to start to deliver vehicles at a commercially plausible price. Its success will kick start the commercial roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell buses to assist in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gases from our public transport systems”
Bart Biebuyck, FCH JU Executive Director - “Project JIVE is now the fifth project related to deployment of fuel cells buses supported by the FCH JU and its launch marks a significant turning point in the decarbonisation of public transport. The FCH JU is proud of such a far-reaching project seeing the daylight, which aims at unlocking the economies of scale required for commercialisation. Fuel cell buses offer great advantages as they can cut emissions and noise pollution, while providing good quality public transport. Bringing these benefits directly to citizens’ day-to-day lives is one of the priorities of the FCH JU and project JIVE clearly is a stepping stone in this process. “
Richard Ferrer, INEA Senior Project Manager – “INEA is very proud to bring support to such an innovative project. It is emblematic of what needs to be done to accelerate decarbonisation of transport, in particular in urban areas. It is the result of strong combined efforts from local, national and European stakeholders, both public and private, to reach a massive implementation phase which I am confident will be a successful test bed supporting low emission mobility in Europe”
About the FCH JU
The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) is a unique public private partnership supporting research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe. Its aim is to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies, realising their potential as an instrument in achieving a carbon-lean energy system.
Fuel cells, as an efficient conversion technology, and hydrogen, as a clean energy carrier, have a great potential to help fight carbon dioxide emissions, to reduce dependence on hydrocarbons and to contribute to economic growth. The objective of the FCH JU is to bring these benefits to Europeans through a concentrated effort from all sectors.
The three members of the FCH JU are the European Commission, fuel cell and hydrogen industries represented by Hydrogen Europe and the research community represented by the Research Grouping N.ERGHY.