- Hans Energy’s hydrogen refuelling station in Citybus’ depot in West Kowloon could be operational as early as the first quarter of next year.
- The company owns a 15.56 per cent stake in Bravo Transport, the owner of Citybus and New World First Bus.
Hans Energy, which owns a stake in the parent of Hong Kong bus operators Citybus and New World First Bus, said it will build the city’s first hydrogen refuelling station.
The refuelling station in Citybus’ depot in West Kowloon could be operational as early as the first quarter of next year, and is in line with the government’s plans to test hydrogen fuel-cell buses in Hong Kong next year, the company said in a statement on Thursday. It is subject to government approval.
Details on its stake in the project and investment will be announced at a later date, a Hans spokesman said.
Hans, which trades refined oil and petrochemical products and owns a loading terminal, jetties and fuel storage tanks in Dongguan, Guangdong, has diversified into clean energy.
In two transactions over the past two years, it bought a 15.56 per cent stake in Bravo Transport, the owner of Citybus and New World First Bus, for HK$469 million (US$59.7 million).
“It is an important step for the group to move from traditional energy to emerging green energy businesses, especially in the hydrogen energy industry,” said Yang Dong, director of Bravo Transport and CEO of Hans.
Electrification of vehicles and ferries is a major plank of Hong Kong’s strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will complement battery-powered electric vehicles as green transport solutions.
The transport sector contributed 19.7 per cent of the city’s carbon emissions in 2020, the second largest after power generation at 60.4 per cent.
In 2021, the government set up an interdepartmental working group to facilitate the introduction of hydrogen into the city’s energy mix. It aimed to launch pilots of fuel cell buses and heavy vehicles by 2024.
Hydrogen can also be mixed with natural gas to fuel power stations, besides being a fuel source for vehicles.
In June, Citybus received its first hydrogen double-decker bus specially designed for Hong Kong.
It was built by Wisdom (Fujian) Motor, with key components supplied by Canadian fuel cell technology provider Ballard Power Systems and a joint venture between Hong Kong-listed CIMC Enric and Norway-based Hexagon Purus, which makes high-pressure storage equipment.
KMB, Hong Kong’s biggest bus operator, is also considering adding hydrogen-powered vehicles as part of its green fleet. It plans to increase the number of electric buses in its fleet from around 30 currently to 80 by the middle of next year and to 500 by 2025.
As the highly flammable fuel is strictly regulated in Hong Kong, it is illegal to drive a hydrogen-powered vehicle in the city.
The government will next year review its regulations and conduct trials to compare the performance of hydrogen, electric and diesel buses, said Victor Kwong, chairman of the environmental committee at Hong Kong-based Institute of ESG and Benchmark.
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The government is also preparing a road map for hydrogen development in Hong Kong, and is considering setting up refuelling points to serve cross-border heavy-duty vehicles from the mainland, he added.