Eight new zero-emission buses for greener public transport

The eight fuel cell electric vehicles have been purchased as part of TMB's strategic option to modernise its bus fleet and make it greener, always in accordance with the green purchase (choosing the most environmentally friendly product available) and gradual electrification criteria.

23/09/2020 16:26 h

Ecologia Urbana

Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) has taken another step forward towards new zero-emission mobility with the purchase of eight hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric buses, the first in Spain to be used in a regular urban network service.

The eight fuel cell electric vehicles have been purchased as part of TMB’s strategic option for a greener and more modern bus fleet, always in accordance with the green purchasing criterion (choosing the most environmentally friendly product available) and gradual electrification.

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is a very versatile energy vector that should have a predominant role in the transport and storage of various forms of energy and their instant conversion into useful energy. Advances in the use of hydrogen in transport are being made thanks to technological developments linked to fuel cells.

Reverse electrolysis, a process in which hydrogen reacts with oxygen, takes place in the fuel cell. Hydrogen is taken from one or more tanks in the vehicle, and oxygen is taken from the ambient air. The only by-product of this reaction is the electricity generated, plus heat and water. The last of these is expelled through the exhaust pipe as steam.

Driving range of 300 km

The eight buses purchased by TMB will be Caetano H2 City Gold LHD models. They will be 12 metres long, and their technology will be based on a 60 kW fuel cell made by the Japanese firm Toyota. The motorisation and electronic part will be provided by Siemens. According to the manufacturer’s estimates, the buses will consume 20 kg of hydrogen per day and will have a range of 300 km.

They will arrive in Barcelona in November 2021 and are expected to join the service in early 2022. The binning bidder in the tender was the Portuguese manufacturer Caetano Bus, which will supply the eight vehicles for €6.4 million, including VAT.

The vehicles will be assigned to the Zona Franca Business Operations Centre and will be provided with hydrogen for vehicles at the refuelling plant that is to be built in the same area under the agreement concluded between TMB and the Zona Franca Consortium last June.

The plant, which is the first in Spain to be used for a public service, will supply an approximate daily weight of 160 kg of hydrogen from renewable sources to TMB’s eight vehicles as well as serving private individuals and other companies in the area. The contract for the construction of the plant is currently at the bidding stage.

The purchase of the eight hydrogen vehicles is backed by the European JIVE 2 programme for the promotion of fuel cell and zero-emission vehicles. TMB is the only Spanish operator taking part in the project, which is co-funded by the European Union. The project is promoted in partnership with the Barcelona Metropolitan Transport Authority (ATM).

The Spanish Ministry of Industry has applauded TMB’s initiative to start using hydrogen, a key element in the decarbonisation of transport. According to the Spanish Government’s roadmap, 150 to 200 buses powered by this type of energy will operate in Spain by 2030.

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