Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK) received 7.4 million euro for the procurement of 30 fuel cell hybrid busses and two hydrogen refuelling stations through the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) under the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). By 2019 Cologne will have one of the largest emission-free bus fleets in Europe. This BMVI-awarded grant supplements funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) totalling 5.6 million euro under the JIVE EU project, already received in January. JIVE is the largest fuel cell bus project in Europe in which articipating local public transport companies have decided to together procure 140 fuel cell busses and several H2 refuelling stations from European suppliers.

The 30 fuel cell hybrid busses are to be stationed at the RVK locations of Hürth, Meckenheim and Wermelskirchen. There is a subsidy option for another 10 vehicles to be launched in 2020 at the latest. To establish the requisite infrastructure, RVK plans to construct a hydrogen refuelling station at their sites in Meckenheim (Rhine-Sieg district) and Wermelskirchen (Rhine-Bergisch district). The commissioning of both stations is planned for the end of 2018. Another hydrogen refuelling station for commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles will begin operation in 2018 too at the Cologne/Bonn airport. The existing hydrogen refuelling station in Hürth will also be extended and upgraded.

Over the past 12 months the number of hydrogen refuelling stations for passenger vehicles has doubled. By the end of the year there will be over 40 publicly accessible H2 stations. Provision to large metropolitan regions as well as along connecting motorways and highways is already guaranteed. As a result of the procurement funding through the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP), the number of fuel cell passenger vehicles on German roads has now doubled to 400 vehicles. Apart from the funding of the RVK fuel cell bus project, there are currently over 50 other procurements of fuel cell busses being subsidised, including in Wuppertal at Rheinbahn AG and in Mainz.

Photo: courtesy Van Hool/RVK