Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK) Inaugurates Europe’s Largest Fuel Cell Hybrid Bus Fleet

By August 21, 2020 7   min read  (1237 words)

August 21, 2020 |

Regionalverkehr K%C3%B6ln GmbH RVK Inaugurates Europes Largest Fuel cell Hybrid Bus Fleet Main
  • The first cross-location H2 infrastructure for public transport

Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK), representatives of the BMVI (Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure), the EU Commission and the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis (RSK), as one of the shareholders of the RVK, officially presented the complex and exciting project on site Meckenheim in the Rhein-Sieg district.

Meckenheim / Rhein-Sieg district. A fleet of 35 fuel cell hybrid buses and two hydrogen filling stations were presented to the public today. The inauguration at the Meckenheim location was an example of the overall project. The industrial partners involved at the location were also on site.

RVK has been running on hydrogen since 2011. Thanks to the support of the RVK shareholders, the then still visionary project was developed in several stages through the use of two prototypes, two pre-series vehicles, from 2014 to the current state: the largest fuel cell bus fleet in Europe!

Regionalverkehr K%C3%B6ln GmbH RVK Inaugurates Europes Largest Fuel cell Hybrid Bus Fleet

Presentation of Europe’s largest fuel cell hybrid bus fleet and RVK hydrogen filling station in Meckenheim; Here the speakers (from left to right): Mayor Bert Spilles (Meckenheim), District Administrator Sebastian Schuster (Rhein-Sieg district), Eugen Puderbach (Managing Director RVK), District Administrator Günter Rosenke (District Euskirchen, Supervisory Board Chairman RVK), Lionel Boillot (Project Manager FCHJU ), MDirig Johannes Wieczorek (Head of Subdivision Climate Protection in Transport, Environment and Noise Protection at the BMVI) and Robert Missen (EUROPEAN COMMISSION, Directorate-General for Mobility & Transport – Head of Unit B-3: Innovation & Research)


Together with Meckenheim’s Mayor Bert Spilles, Eugen Puderbach, Managing Director of the RVK, welcomed the invited guests and expressed his thanks to the shareholders, sponsors and partners: “I can describe all of my colleagues as pioneers who have demonstrated the value of this alternative drive for effective climate protection recognized early on and had the courage to help shape the project together. ”

In cooperation with various industrial partners, a petrol station in Meckenheim (Framatome consortium), a petrol station in Wermelskirchen (Linde GmbH) and a total of 35 A330 FC buses (Van Hool) will go into operation for the RVK bus fleet.

After the necessary driver training and the final commissioning of the filling station, the first ten fuel cell hybrid buses will soon be used in regular service in Meckenheim. The new filling station is available for this purpose, which in the current expansion stage enables 20 fuel cell buses to be refueled daily in two cycles of 10 vehicles.
The remaining 25 buses are used at the RVK locations in Wermelskirchen and Bergisch Gladbach in the Rheinisch-Bergisches Kreis and in the city of Hürth.

“The use of fuel cell buses represents a further, clear step towards improving the quality of public transport,” said Sebastian Schuster, the district administrator of the Rhein-Sieg district, happily. “We are proud to be part of a pioneering role that is being recognized throughout Europe and we would like to encourage other regions to set out on the path as well and thus make a substantial contribution to climate protection.”

Realization thanks to funding

Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK) receives grants from the FCH JU (Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) for the purchase of the fuel cell hybrid buses as part of the EU funding project JIVE as well as co-funding from the BMVI as part of the NIP-2 Program. The construction of the infrastructure is also supported by funds from the NIP-2 program and by INEA (Wermelskirchen only) as part of the EU project MEHRLIN.

Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer on the occasion of the presentation: “Today, Europe’s largest fuel cell hybrid fleet with 35 buses and two hydrogen filling stations goes into operation in Meckenheim. This means that people can experience hydrogen technology in everyday life. This is exactly what it’s about: modern and climate-friendly technologies on the road and to inspire people. We are investing around 14 million euros in the project for this. ”

The EU is paying further funding totaling around 7 million euros to RVK for the procurement of the 35 fuel cell hybrid buses delivered in 2020 and the hydrogen tank system in Wermelskirchen.

Robert Missen from the European Commission, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE): Innovation & Research, as one of the sponsors, is convinced of the trendsetting character of the project: “The replacement of diesel buses with a new fleet of fuel cell buses is a wonderful example for the Decarbonisation of transport and the attractiveness of public transport. It is particularly impressive that this does not happen in a capital city but in a suburban region. In Brussels, we will closely monitor the success of this initiative and I am sure that this will be an example of good practice in the EU for clean intercity bus transport. ”

Lionel Boillot, Project Manager at FCH JU (Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) sums up “that the RVK has introduced a clean European technology for bus transport without compromise, from which the citizens of the region will benefit in the long term.”

By the end of 2021, RVK will integrate a further 15 fuel cell hybrid buses into its bus fleet at the corresponding locations in the Rhein-Sieg district, the Rheinisch-Bergischer district and in Hürth as part of the funding projects. These buses are also purchased as part of the EU project JIVE 2 and funded by the “Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking” (FCH JU), the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) via the NIP2 program and the Ministry of Transport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. In summary, the RVK will then have 50 fuel cell hybrid buses.

Hydrogen and other measures in the area of ​​climate protection

The topic of hydrogen has arrived in business and society at the latest since the national and European hydrogen strategies. And rightly so, since hydrogen is an excellent, transportable and storable energy carrier.

As an alternative fuel, it causes almost no emissions locally in terms of exhaust gas and the very reduced operating noise, as the buses are equipped with an electric motor. In addition, hydrogen guarantees the required range, short refueling times, and thus high availability and flexibility of use of the vehicles in local public transport.

Decision-makers at all levels welcome the current climate-friendly measures and projects, which, especially in times of COVID-19, are sensibly stimulating the recovery.

This is also emphasized by District Administrator Günter Rosenke, who as chairman of the supervisory board supported the RVK’s path to the corporate goal of “zero emissions” from the start: “RVK has already achieved a lot, but it does not rest on what it has achieved. Numerous other environmentally-oriented goals are still on the agenda. ”He gave an outlook on the upcoming RVK projects such as the“ Grünen Mobilhof GL ”in Bergisch Gladbach in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district and the planned“ Aus und. ”In the city of Mechernich in the Euskirchen district Training center for climate-neutral and digital mobility ”.

Design competition with the Alanus University

Parts of the filling station are used as unloading points for the hydrogen trailers. The 4 x 13.6 meter long walls built there could be painted as part of a competition with the Alanus University of Art and Society in Alfter, located in the Rhein-Sieg district. Three students from the Fine Arts / Painting faculty – Anna Dippel, Carlos Herrera and Helena Schenk – had won the competition. They dealt intensively with the project and the electrochemical process of the fuel cell in the buses: “The fact that scientific progress is used to protect the environment is a wonderful development and therefore also a theme of our design. “


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