The High V.LO-City project started in 2012 and will run through the end of 2018. The project aims at facilitating the deployment of fuel cell buses and hydrogen refuelling stations in three sites across Europe: Antwerp (Belgium), Aberdeen (United Kingdom) and San Remo (Italy). The 14 buses deployed will be used as a like-to-like replacement of conventional diesel buses and trolley buses. The project involves 13 partners and is coordinated by the bus manufacturer Van Hool.
Five fuel cell buses have started their operation in December 2014 (see launch event here). The buses are operated by the bus operator De Lijn on several lines in the North of Antwerp. The buses use hydrogen produced as by-product from the chemical industry (Solvay). The refuelling station is located next to Solvay site in Lillo and shows a 98% availability rate.
Four buses are operated in Aberdeen by First Group on the x40 route. In addition, 6 fuel cell buses are operated by Stagecoach as part of the Hytransit project. Combined with their new refuelling station, they form the hydrogen bus project, which makes Aberdeen the largest bus fleet in Europe to date. The hydrogen refuelling station is the largest across United Kingdom, producing green hydrogen from renewable sources. The station has a daily refuelling capacity of 360 kg /H2 and performs with a high availability rate. The bus and station operation were officially launched on 11 March 2015. (See info here), and the station has reached its 1,000th refuel in November 2015 (see PR here).
The fuel cell bus deployment is part of a the Hydrogen Strategy for the Aberdeen City Region, a 10 year strategy outlining the key actions required to ensure Aberdeen remains at the forefront of hydrogen technology. More on this here). Aberdeen is currently looking at ways to expand further its fuel cell bus fleet.
Five buses will be operated by Riviera Trasporti from mid 2016 onwards. These buses will operate on the touristic seacoast lines and will replace trolley bus vehicles. They are expected to demonstrate with an increased flexibility and lower operational cost that the fuel cell bus technology is a valuable alternative for zero emission public transport, even compared with other sustainable ways of transport. The refuelling station will refuel the 5 vehicles with hydrogen produced locally from electricity that is sustainable produced.
More information on the project website
Pictures: fuel cell buses in operation in Aberdeen and Antwerp