Eight new zero-emission buses for an even greener public transport

The acquisition is part of the TMB’s strategic option to modernise and green the city’s fleet of buses, invariably under green-procurement and gradual-electrification criteria.

23/09/2020 23:21 h

Districte Sant Martí

The Barcelona Metropolitan Transport Authority (TMB) has taken a further step towards a new zero-emission mobility through its acquisition of eight hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses, the first ever allocated for regular service on the urban network in Spain.

Their acquisition is part of the TMB’s strategic option to modernise and green the city’s fleet of buses, invariably under green-procurement (choosing the most environmentally friendly product available), and gradual-electrification criteria.

The most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen, is a highly versatile energy vector that needs to play a prevailing role in the transport, storage and instantaneous conversion of different types of energy into useful energy. The use of hydrogen for transport is making headway thanks technological developments in fuel cells.

Inverse electrolysis is being developed in fuel cells, a process through which hydrogen reacts with oxygen. The hydrogen comes from one or several of the vehicle’s tanks, whereas the oxygen is captured from the outside air. The only products derived from this reaction is the electricity generated plus heat and water, in the form of vapour, which is expelled through the exhaust pipe.

300-km fuel-cell range

The eight buses acquired by TMB will each be a 12-metre long, model CaetanoBus H2.City Gold, based on Toyota’s 60 kW fuel-cell technology. It electric motor and electronic components will be supplied by Siemens. The manufacturer estimates they will have a daily consumption of 20 kg of hydrogen and a 300 km fuel-cell range.

They will be coming to Barcelona in November 2021 and are expected to join the fleet and go into service at the start of 2022. The successful tenderer of the invitation to tender was the Portuguese manufacturer, Caetano Bus, which will be providing eight vehicles for the price of 6.4 million euros, VAT included.

The vehicles will be allocated to the Zona Franca Business Operations Centre and provided with vehicular hydrogen at a charging plant to be built in the same industrial complex, under an agreement TMB and the Zona Franca Consortium signed this June.

This plant, the first in Spain intended for public service, will supply some 160 kg of renewable-source hydrogen a day to the eight TMB buses while also providing service to other local businesses and individuals. The construction of the plant is current at the invitation-to-tender stage.

The acquisition of eight hydrogen vehicles is supported under the European JIVE 2 programme for promoting zero-emission fuel cell buses, co-funded by the EU, where TMB is the sole Spanish operator taking part. The project is being launched in collaboration with the Barcelona Metropolitan Transport Authority (ATM).

Spain’s Ministry of Industry has praised the TMB initiative for adopting hydrogen, a key element in decarbonising transport. The Government’s roadmap expects to see between 150 and 200 hydrogen-propelled buses in service in 2030.