Arriva launches ZE Institute

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The Institute will accelerate Arriva’s journey to net-zero across Europe, working in partnership with cities and regions, with an initial focus on buses, followed by trains, buildings and processes

Arriva Group has announced a new Zero Emission Institute, which will be led by a team of experts in fleet planning, to accelerate its journey to net-zero in partnership with cities and regions. The Institute is planned to be a central hub of knowledge and expertise for passenger transport authorities and for Arriva’s business units, sharing pan-European experience and best practice in the roll-out of alternative fuels and transitioning fleets to zero emissions. Arriva says this will help it to build longer term decarbonisation strategies alongside town and city transport authorities.

Anne Hettinga, Arriva Group Board Member and Managing Director of Arriva in the Netherlands is leading Arriva’s wider sustainability strategy across Europe. She commented: “This is a great moment for Arriva as it allows us to consolidate all of our expertise under one virtual roof. I feel proud of everything that’s been achieved already, but now we must look to accelerate decarbonisation in Europe and passenger transport will be critical for this.”

The Institute has plans to forge relationships and partnerships with a number of external organisations which will in turn build Arriva’s internal expertise and knowledge of the latest emerging technologies. It will seek to create partnerships with green energy companies, academic institutions, technological innovators, engineers, vehicle designers and manufacturers.

Matt Greener, Arriva’s Zero Emission Institute Director, said: “Sustainable passenger transport solutions are a critical component of the journey to net-zero and partnership will be the key to achieving this. Governments, local authorities, operators, manufacturers, academics, engineers and energy providers will need to come together to innovate and solve challenges to ensure a faster transition. I’m excited about the role of my team and the contribution we will make under the banner of our Zero Emission Institute.”

Arriva has a network which covers 14 European countries, each on different stages of the sustainability journey. It has experience in different types of alternative fuel technologies and of the challenges to enabling sometimes complex transitions which require the right infrastructure in order to be successful. The company explained that securing the necessary grid capacity to fuel an electric vehicle depot can take years in some countries.

The Institute has been set up to support Arriva’s vision to help shape a future where passenger transport is the best choice. To achieve this, the Group believes that partnership and clear government policies that encourage people to use public transport are essential. It says that modal shift to public transport will make a significant difference in the journey to decarbonisation by reducing car use, which in turn reduces emissions. At the same time, the firm said, adopting cleaner and greener fuel technology will ensure public transport makes its contribution to the EU’s goal to become climate neutral by 2050.

Arriva already operates zero-emission vehicles in most of its European countries, utilising a mix of electric and hydrogen technologies. It also operates vehicles using alternative fuels such as biofuels, including hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), biodiesel (RME) and biogas (biomethane). The company has been operating zero-emission vehicles in the UK since 2014 when it was the first operator to introduce electric buses into London at its Croydon depot, and has secured funding for 74 electric vehicles through the UK Government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme. The funding will go towards the purchase of 47 double-deck and 27 single-deck electric buses. It also includes contributions towards the upgrade of depots and associated charging infrastructure.

As part of its work, the Zero Emission Institute will also analyse the full lifecycle costs of vehicles and environmental impacts to tackle the necessary transformation of public transport networks, making them more sustainable and more affordable. The initial focus will be on bus fleet transition, but the Institute will also be responsible for trains, buildings and processes.

Beyond buses, Arriva has already been involved in developing, trialling and implementing new hybrid train technologies in both the UK and the Netherlands. The Group said that the rail industry presents some additional complexities with tracks still requiring electrification, which is traditionally the responsibility of railway infrastructure companies, not operators, which is why partnership will be critical to the future of sustainable transport.

Arriva operates electric buses in a growing number of locations, including this Volvo in the Dutch town of Leiden. ARRIVA