For the electrification of the bus fleet, Stadtwerke Münster is relying on a mixture of electric buses and those with hydrogen tanks and fuel cells.
Electric buses have been running in Münster since 2015. They regularly charge their batteries with green electricity at the terminus. Now the municipal utilities are using the first electric bus with a hydrogen tank and fuel cell. The difference: the fuel cell on board uses the hydrogen to generate electricity free of emissions, which is used to drive the bus. One tank load is enough for a distance of more than 350 kilometers, i.e. a whole day.
“Our strategy is to convert the entire fleet to electric drives by 2029. This is climate protection in practice and also pleases local residents, as electric buses are significantly quieter. Depending on the profile of the line, we use electric buses with batteries or fuel cells, ”explains Frank Gäfgen, Managing Director of Mobility at Stadtwerke.
Further hydrogen buses have already been ordered
Stadtwerke has already ordered additional hydrogen buses, but have not yet received them. This should change at the turn of the year 2021/2022. To this end, the municipal utilities have teamed up with the Oldenburg company Buses4Future, which has experience from the Dutch market, among other things. The cooperation also gives the innovative start-up the opportunity to test the market ramp-up of fuel cell technology in real city bus operation.
When refueling the bus, the company works with the Westfalen Group. The bus will refuel at the Westfalen Group’s public hydrogen filling station in Amelsbüren. “The fact that Westphalia has already created this infrastructure is a real advantage for Münster, as it makes it much easier for us to get started,” says Frank Gäfgen, pleased about the good cooperation between the two Münster companies.
“With the construction of our hydrogen filling station in 2016, we made an investment in the future long before the boom,” said Dr. Thomas Perkmann, CEO of the Westfalen Group. “Unfortunately there are still not enough hydrogen vehicles. We are all the more pleased about the commitment of the municipal utilities, which, together with us, keep taking steps towards the drives of the future. The deployment of the first hydrogen bus in Münster is the beginning of a path towards more climate neutrality in our region. ”
Planned strategy of Stadtwerke Münster
“We have laid down in our strategy to convert the bus fleet with over 100 vehicles completely to electric drives by 2029. 2021 will take a big step in this direction: We want to almost double the fleet from 17 today to 31 buses by the end of the year, “says Frank Gäfgen, and holds out the prospect:” If we can acquire more funding, it may be even more possible!”
Electric buses are already running exclusively on route 14 in Münster, and this goal will also be achieved on route 11 in 2021. The municipal company is already using electric buses on individual trips on other routes, and the trend is rising. Wherever the buses go, they are replacing diesel buses and making the bus even more climate-friendly as an environmentally friendly means of transport. The strategy of the energy and mobility company is to make Münster green, both in terms of electricity, heat and mobility.