The American Public Transport Association calculates that an average household would save $ 10.000 if it would switch to public transport.  But for some transport operators, this doesn’t go far enough. Many transit agencies actively prepare for an entire shift to completely emission-free means of transport.

On October 16th and 17th Hamburg hosted the International Fuel Cell Bus Workshop to enhance the discussion and collaboration of the worldwide spearheads in this field. The workshop will brought together panelists and participants from industry, policymakers and transit operators among others.

British Columbia, California, London, Oslo and Hamburg are exemplary cities and regions that are already successfully integrating the first zero emission fuel cell buses in their public transport systems. These buses use hydrogen as a clean energy carrier. The common objective of the field trials is to support the manufacturers of these buses as well as the future hydrogen suppliers to reach full commercial viability in the next decade. For the initial phase their joint efforts are being supported with funding programs on the national level in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Nether-lands, as well as on the European level. Recently, the European funding scheme for hydrogen and fuel cell applications has been expanded under the EU Horizon 2020 program for research and innovation.

The ongoing developments and strategies require a close exchange of knowledge especially on an international level. With the objective to further enhance fuel cell technology and its infra-structure, discuss market access strategies and share best practices, partners will congregate in Hamburg for the International Fuel Cell Bus Workshop. Their discussions will increase the global understanding of requirements for the technical optimization of fuel cell buses and their introduc-tion to the market as well as highlight current and future plans for meeting technical and socio-economic demands.

This is the first event to bring together a broad variety of stakeholders from Germany, Europe, the US and other countries to give a comprehensive overview on the status of the fuel cell tech-nology in general and the operational advantages of fuel cell buses in particular. There will also be an opportunity to collaborate on design and safety standards for bus and fueling technology, expand the market for zero emission technologies, and network with other international fuel cell bus stakeholders from various European countries, Brazil, Japan, India, and China.

The aim of the conference is to provide an overview of the current testing activities with fuel cell buses and to give an estimation of their relevance regarding the shift in public transport to low-emission drives. All stakeholders and guests will bring in their ideas to further prepare the mar-ket for fuel cell buses and their hydrogen infrastructure. Also it is intended to kick-start common activities for future purchase networks for fuel cell buses to economically benefit from econo-mies of scale.

Olaf Scholz, First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg: “We are glad to host the International Fuel Cell Bus Workshop 2013 in our city. The workshop marks the starting point for a regular and structured global exchange on fuel cell bus technologies and its infra-structure. Hamburger Hochbahn has been a forerunner with this technology since 2003. The collaboration with our partners worldwide will further encourage us in our objective to purchase only emission-free buses from 2020”.

Dirk Inger, Director Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Policy, Electric Vehicles at the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development: “The use of hydro-gen and fuel cells in buses is very important regarding the development and the acceptance of these future technologies. The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, in cooperation with the industry, supports research and development activities with around 1.4 billion Euro through the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (NIP). The main focus is on applications in the transport sector, in energy storage, and in buildings. Our goal is to push the launch of clean technologies to the market. The International Fuel Cell Bus Workshop and the exchange of international experts provide an important encouragement for the future use of this technology in this as in other areas”.

Bert de Colvenaer, Executive Director, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking EU: “The workshop continues efforts begun in 2003 by the CUTE and HyFleet/CUTE projects for the demonstration of hydrogen buses. I am happy to see that meanwhile the European program for fuel cell and hydrogen is bearing fruits. We therefore highly appreciate the International Fuel Cell Bus Workshop to smooth the way for further global exchange on fuel cell bus technology and help bring together a growing number of stakeholders from public transport as well as in-dustry. The workshop illustrates that fuel cell buses can become a commercially viable option after 2020. However to achieve this goal we have to start today”.

Dr. Klaus Bonhoff, NOW National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, Man-aging Director (Chair): “Hydrogen and fuel cell technology is developing into a real alternative for the specific needs of transport companies, particularly in city centres, i.e. low noise and no CO2 emissions while operating. Fundamental for this success is the National Innovation Pro-gramme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). Now it is time to organise the second stage up to commercial market breakthrough and set the course in terms of policy for market activation from 2014. At the forefront is the building up of a refuelling structure for hydrogen, which must be carried out by both the political and industrial spheres together”.

More information? Contact: Kathrin Gisdon, Press Coordinator hySOLUTIONS GmbH,

Tel. 0049 (40) 3288 4479, Mail: kathrin.gisdon@hysolutions-hamburg.de

You can download the presentations of the panellists here and the pictures here