Ricardo has developed a hydrogen fuelled, zero tailpipe emission concept bus in partnership with Stagecoach North East, which is due to start testing on Teesside
Environmental and engineering consultant Ricardo, in partnership with Stagecoach North East, has repowered a diesel Enviro400 double-decker bus with a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system. Delivering zero tailpipe emissions, Ricardo is now looking to secure customers to enable it to invest in the production of a fleet of passenger vehicles to help move towards a more sustainable future for shared mobility.
The project, part funded by the Department of Transport through its Hydrogen Transport Hub Demonstration competition, saw Ricardo working with Stagecoach North East to retro-fit hydrogen fuel cell technology into an existing double-decker bus. It created a zero-emission demonstrator that is now undergoing a 10-week test and demonstration programme around the Tees Valley and Brighton & Hove areas. Feedback and data from the trials will support the team to explore future market opportunities and applications with bus operators and other partners across the UK and beyond.
Ricardo is seeking to offer the hydrogen fuel cell re-powered vehicles at around half the price of a new bus, significantly reducing the upfront investment required whilst also avoiding up to 45,000kg of carbon dioxide emissions by extending the life of existing buses rather than building from new. The aim is to secure 50% match funding investment plus customer commitment for an initial production of 150 buses, which could enter service from late 2024.
Andrew Ennever, Service Leader for hydrogen fuel cells at Ricardo, said: “The UK bus industry directly supports around 250,000 jobs, as well as thousands of others in bus manufacturing and support services. There are around 38,000 buses in service in the UK, so we’re excited by the opportunities this type of project provides and to work with operators in support of their future environmental strategies. The project has drawn upon the breadth and depth of Ricardo’s capabilities, from complex control systems to thermal systems, mechanical design to vehicle integration. We are now capturing learning from the demonstration trials to enable further refinements to be included within a future production solution and alternative hydrogen fuel cell vehicle applications.”
Steve Walker, Stagecoach North East Managing Director, added: “Having worked closely with Ricardo on the hydrogen project for several months, we’re excited to be able to demonstrate the innovative retrofit hydrogen fuel cell bus on Teesside. This is a further representation of Stagecoach’s commitment to introducing greener bus technologies to help lower vehicle emissions, which remains key to achieving our environmental objectives. Over the past 10 years, Stagecoach has invested more than £1bn in greener buses, and we have taken another step forward with this technological trial in the North East.”