The FCH JU funded NewBusFuel project, recently ended and has been successful in demonstrating that large scale hydrogen refuelling is technically and economically viable. The objective of the project was of resolving the knowledge gap for the establishment of large-scale hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for fuel cell buses – silent electric buses with long driving range and with zero local emissions. The study commenced in summer 2015 has assessed the central technology- and engineering solutions required for the refuelling of a large number of hydrogen fuel cell buses at a single bus depot, which is under way to evolve into fleet development in the coming years. The press release accompanying the project’s results finds that while work is required to develop and mature the technology and associated codes and standards, there are no big barriers which will prevent the large scale uptake of the technology.

The project was based on a consortium of 10 of Europe’s leading technology providers of hydrogen production and refuelling equipment. These industry players worked with 12 bus operators in Europe to develop bespoke designs for large scale refuelling systems for their bus depots. A full range of engineering solutions was developed involving different supply models (liquid/gaseous trailer delivery and on-site production from electrolysis and methane reformation) covering hydrogen demands between 1,000 and 5,000kg of hydrogen per day, corresponding to around 50 to up to 260 buses per depot investigated. Each case study was able to demonstrate that hydrogen refuelling is:

– Affordable – The cost for hydrogen is dependent on location, but solutions exist which can lower costs below €6/kg even using today’s technology, which is below the cost required for parity with (taxed) diesel fuel
– Reliable – stations can achieve 100% reliability as demanded by bus operators, e.g. using redundancy of equipment – this becomes considerably easier at a large scal
– Space efficient – Solutions exist which require as little as 400 m2 of footprint, which is easily accommodated in a bus depot (these tend to be based on delivered liquid hydrogen)

More information on the project can be found here:

Photo credit: