Hydrogen buses hit the streets of Birmingham

Twenty hydrogen-powered buses built by Wrightbus are carrying passengers on the streets of the West Midlands for the first time.

Outside London, these are the only hydrogen buses operating in England.

Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Waseem Zaffar, said: “Birmingham City Council’s zero-emission green-hydrogen bus fleet provides an innovative solution for cities that want to decarbonise public transport.

“They should immediately improve air quality and help us work towards Birmingham’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Birmingham residents may feel assured that their city is playing a leading role in actioning policies and informing debate about zero-emission public transport at local and national level.”

The new buses have been purchased as part of the Council’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot, which is taking a leading role in the zero-emissions logistics market. 

Managing Director of National Express West Midlands, David Bradford, said: “The West Midlands already has the cheapest bus fares in England – just £4 via contactless for a day saver; and now we are running the very greenest buses, emitting just water droplets from the exhaust pipe. 

“It’s a great deal for our customers – just by getting the bus, they’re saving money and saving the planet. These state-of-the-art buses are a sign of our commitment to sustainability. National Express bought our last diesel bus in 2019, and our goal is that the whole fleet will be zero-emission by 2030. 

“So we’re working with Transport for West Midlands to get hundreds more electric and hydrogen buses on routes across Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.” 

Birmingham’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot will be the catalyst for the next generation of hydrogen buses, hydrogen production and re-fuelling infrastructure development.

Neil Collins, Wrightbus MD, said: “We’re incredibly proud of the part Wrightbus is playing in the race to Net Zero. About 70 per cent of the budes we produce next year will be zero emission vehicles.

“Our Hydroliners have already prevented more than 1.3million kg of CO2 from entering the atmosphere versus the same journeys being made in diesel buses, clocking up more than 782,000 miles in the process. Birmingham’s Hydroliner buses will help prevent even more harmful emissions from entering the city’s air, benefiting passengers and local residents alike.”

The project is funded through OZEV (Office for Zero Emission Vehicles), GBSLEP (Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership), Birmingham City Council and JIVE project funding from the FCH JU (European Funding from the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) under grant agreement No 735582.

The council are also collaborating with ITM, who are producing and dispensing the hydrogen fuel from the new re-fuelling hub at Tyseley Energy Park.

Image courtesy of Wrightbus.

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