Birmingham City Council has just approved a pilot scheme which will see at least 20 new cleaner, zero emission hydrogen-fuelled buses in the streets. The scheme aims to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels on key bus routes, which in turn will support the council in its work to reduce air pollution and become compliant with air quality legislation.

Funding for the £13.4 million pilot includes grant contributions from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCHJU), the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) Local Growth Fund and approved Future Council Programme resources.

The pilot is designed to test the potential of developing a hydrogen market to encourage the take-up of zero emission transport fuels, with the buses set to be the first hydrogen vehicles in the city. The buses will be fuelled by hydrogen produced at Tyseley Energy Park, which will continue to be developed as the first UK low/zero-emission refuelling hub for commercial and public sector vehicles, ranging from buses and bin wagons to vans and taxis. Tyseley Energy Park will become operational by September 2018, with the new hydrogen buses being re-fuelled there from March 2019.