First hydrogen buses to operate in Antwerp. The quietest and cleanest buses in the country are arriving!

On Tuesday 13 May 2014, in Mechelen, the Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters and the CEO of De Lijn Roger Kesteloot presented Belgium’s first hydrogen bus. From September 2014, five hydrogen buses will run in the northern region of the city of Antwerp. Hydrogen produces no harmful emissions – only water- and the buses are extremely quiet. With the deployment of hydrogen, the Flemish Government wants to promote the use of clean and quiet public transport in cities.

“Added value for the Flemish economy”

“With the investment in five hydrogen buses, we seek a significant added value for both the Flemish companies and the Flemish economy in general. With the purchase of electric buses and hydrogen buses, we focus on future technology and we contribute to greening De Lijn’s bus fleet. The underlying reason is the decision of the Flemish Government of 20 July 2012 to reach the objectives of the Flemish Climate Plan and to highlight the good example given by De Lijn” said Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters.

The purchase of five hydrogen is part of the European funded project High V.LO-City. In order to efficiently address the key environmental challenges for public transport, The European Union wants to accelerate the uptake of hydrogen transport.

The buses are co-funded by the Flemish Government and the European Fuel cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU). They are built by Van Hool from Koningshooikt ( Lier ). The bus manufacturer has already supplied 49 hydrogen buses in North America and Europe (including Aberdeen, Cologne, Oslo and San Remo ).

” Important step towards cleaner and quieter cities “

The investment in hydrogen fits into the vision of the Flemish Government to promote the environment and renewable energy. Both constitute an important driver of a new economic development. Research around electric hydrogen and hybrid buses started in Flanders several years ago. These long-term efforts are now bearing fruits.

Flemish Minister for Mobility Hilde Crevits : ” The Flemish Government makes significant efforts to renew and green De Lijn’s fleet. The Flemish Government has decided to order five hydrogen and three electric buses, a global investment of 8 million Euros. The Flemish Government has also recently decided to order 123 hybrid buses – a total value of 38 million Euros. In this way we choose innovation together with the Flemish bus manufacturers .”

” Innovative procurement: an important boost for the bus industry “

Filip Van Hool Van Hool CEO : ” Innovative procurement remain a major incentive to remain the leader in new developments in the bus industry. With this vehicle , Van Hool is also pleased to contribute to greener mobility in Flanders.”

“No CO2 emissions and no noise for residents”

Hydrogen has two major environmental benefits. Since there is no combustion process , the bus emits no harmful exhaust emissions such as CO2 ( greenhouse emissions ) and NOx ( acid rain and bad for health). There is also no question of fine particles with such buses. A hydrogen bus is particlualy environmentally friendly: it produces only water vapor. As there are no moving mechanical parts in the fuel cell, a hydrogen bus is also very quiet. It is three times quieter than a conventional diesel bus. Inside the bus itself, about half the decibels as a diesel bus can be heard. The bus has place for 94 sated passengers and has an autonomy of 350 kilometers.

Five hydrogen buses in Antwerp

As they are refueled at Solvay, in the North of Antwerp, the hydrogen buses will be riding in the north area of the city of Antwerp. They will operate in the lines 650, 670, 780, 781, 760, 770, 772, 771 , 776 , 720 and 730. Before being put into operation, a few practical issues remain to be settled . If everything goes smoothly, the buses will start drivign after the summer break.