Hydrogen Double-Decker Buses Arrive in Europe’s Top Oil City
(Bloomberg) - The world's first hydrogen double-decker buses will arrive on Wednesday in Aberdeen, Scotland, a city known as the base for some of the world's leading oil companies.
The 15 buses are operated by Wrightbus Ltd. made, a Northern Irish company that was bought by Jo Bamford, son of the chairman of JC Bamford Excavators Ltd., Anthony Bamford. With the deliveries, Aberdeen will receive one of the world's largest fleets of hydrogen buses.
The UK wants to be at the forefront of the hydrogen industry, and the government says it will outline its strategy for the sector over the next year and come up with a plan to create a hydrogen transport hub. Fuel is seen as the key to reducing harmful emissions in everything from industry to transportation and home heating.
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Hydrogen is already making progress in public transport. The first hydrogen-powered trains were tested in the UK last week. They could carry passengers by 2022. The buses are ready today and the cost of running them will come down, said Bamford, who has been in the business for 15 years.
"We can fill it up at the same cost and it has the same running costs as a diesel bus, but the capital cost is twice as much," Bamford said in an interview. "With a little volume, we can bring costs down to the same level."
He has asked the government for £ 500 million ($ 649 million) to help build 3,000 hydrogen buses by 2024. That is still less than 10% of the current bus fleet in the UK. Wrightbus is close to completing an order for 20 double-decker hydrogen buses and will be delivered in London early next year.
Wrightbus also makes electric buses, but because of the complications of charging and fear of range, Bamford relies on hydrogen, which fills up like a gasoline pump.
"When it comes to zero emissions, the hardest thing to change is human behavior," he said. "We are creatures of habit. So if you can do something that mimics our transportation usage today, you will likely be adopted en masse."
Another Bamford company, Ryse Hydrogen Plc, is focused on creating a network for the fuel. The company produces hydrogen with electricity from wind farms, installs and operates storage facilities, transport networks and delivery devices. London will be its first delivery customer from 2021.
Bamford intends to set up a $ 500 million fund that will invest in creating an entire supply chain for the gas. He's going to be putting some of his family money into the project, but he's looking for someone to manage a private equity energy fund to work with and raise the capital.
"Once people figure out how to fund this kit, this stuff will get really interesting in the financial world," he said. "Everyone knows it's going to be a big market. The question is, how do you get into it?"
Aberdeen's green colored buses will be road tested for a few weeks before going into service at the end of the month.
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