A European project, named New Bus Fuel*, demonstrates that hydrogen refueling at a very large scale is technically and economically viable for serving large hydrogen fuel cell electric bus fleets

A consortium of 10 of Europe’s leading technology providers of hydrogen production and refuelling equipment worked with 12 bus operators in Europe to develop bespoke designs for large scale refueling systems for their bus depots. In each location, a suitable design was developed in consultation with bus operators and local regulators. As a result, a wide range of engineering solutions was developed involving different supply modes (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 of these technical solutions was able to meet the original design requirements defined within the case studies, demonstrating that hydrogen refueling at these large scales can be:
– 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 scale ;

– 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).

*The projet was funded under the FCH-JU under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme