Brussels--The High V.LO-City project, which aims at facilitating the deployment of fuel cell electric buses and their related hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in European cities, launches a new demonstration site for fuel cell electric buses in Groningen (Netherlands). The Groningen site is the fourth deployment site in High V.LO-City after Aberdeen, Antwerp and San Remo.
The Dutch bus operator QBuzz joined the High V.LO-City project on 1 January 2017 to implement activities in the Groningen area. The regional bus operator will deploy two Van Hool fuel cell electric buses which will substitute standard diesel buses. At the same time, the role of existing partner PitPoint Clean Fuels will be extended in the project. PitPoint will build and operate the associated hydrogen refuelling station. AkzoNobel will supply PitPoint with hydrogen by pipeline. The hydrogen is a by-product from AkzoNobel’s chlorine production, produced sustainably by electrolysis, using electricity produced from wind energy.
Astrid Veldhuizen, Regional Director at QBuzz, shared her excitement to join the High V.LO-City partnership. She said: ‘Fuel cells electric buses are less noisy and quieter than diesel buses, so I think our customers will enjoy them very much. We believe we will gain a huge expertise from this project which will enable to introduce more zero emission buses to our fleet over the next few years, and therefore continue to offer a high-quality travel experience to our customers’.
Jan Theo Hoefakker, Public Transport Director at PitPoint: ‘We are pleased to intensify our role in the High V.LO-City project. Our aim is to realise clean transportation in Europe by 2030. Fuel cell electric vehicles improve air quality and are important to reach this goal. Our long experience with providing clean fuels to our customers gives us at PitPoint the perfect position to develop and build the refuelling station for the Groningen site in the most efficient manner.’
The Groningen demonstration site will contribute to the ambitious objectives of the Dutch government to reduce emissions from public transport. Fleur Gräper, Chairwoman of OV-bureau Groningen Drenthe said: ‘The High V.LO-City project fits into Groningen’s strategy for sustainable mobility and sustainable economic development. Groningen will be a pioneer in the operation of fuel cell electric buses in the Netherland. Based on the good results of the project on this bus line, we then aim to scale up the deployment of fuel cell electric buses in our region.’ The project will also strengthen existing industrial activity in the Groningen region.
The demonstration site in Groningen will pave the way towards the deployment of more fuel cell electric buses in the Netherlands and in other cities and regions in Europe.
About the High V.LO-City project: cities speeding up the integration of hydrogen buses
The High V.LO-City project, coordinated by the bus manufacturer Van Hool, started in 2012 and will run until the end of 2019. During the course of the project, 14 buses will be operated in 4 locations: Aberdeen, Scotland (4 buses), Antwerp, Belgium (5 buses), San Remo, Italy (3 buses) and Groningen, Netherlands (2 buses). The 14 fuel cell hydrogen buses will be used as like-to-like replacement of conventional diesel buses and trolley buses. The key project objectives are to increase the energy efficiency of the buses and reduce the cost of ownership, as well as to demonstrate an operational availability of the buses equivalent to diesel (over 90%). Another objective of the project is to contribute to the commercialisation of fuel cell electric buses in Europe.
Since the start of the project, more than 380.000km have already been travelled by the buses and their daily operation is proving that fuel cell electric buses can be put in operation with the same level of efficiency and flexibility as diesel buses. Different methods of hydrogen production are tested and the overall availability of the buses is expected to continue to increase as experience is accumulated by the project partners.