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Millbrook 2018
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November 15 2017
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Birmingham agrees £13.4m pilot
for 22 hydrogen buses

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet has agreed a £13.4m trial of 22 hydrogen-powered buses on key city centre routes from March 2019.

They will be fuelled by hydrogen produced at Tyseley Energy Park, a newly-developed low-emission refuelling hub east of the city centre for commercial vehicles, planned to open by September 2018.

The Pilot will provide evidence of whether commercially-viable hydrogen can be produced for use as a zero-emission fuel.

The hydrogen buses, to be procured by Birmingham City Council, are being co-funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (£3.814m), Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (£4.141m), Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, Local Growth Funding (£2.156m) and a Bus Operator contribution (£3.289m). The bus operator will be a procured ‘development partner’ to work with the council and will take on a seven-year lease to operate the buses.

The pilot is designed to “test the potential of developing a hydrogen market” to encourage the take-up of zero emission transport fuels, with the buses set to be the first hydrogen vehicles in the city, to be followed by refuse lorries, vans and taxis.

Renewable electricity is produced from waste wood in a gasification plant, already operating at Tyseley Energy Park. The electricity will be used for the hydrogen production process (electrolysing electricity and water) and for it to be compressed, stored and dispensed to the buses

The council says that using renewable electricity to produce hydrogen, the zero-emission impact of hydrogen buses will support the council in achieving, “in the soonest possible time before 2020,” the air quality compliance needed on key city routes.

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