GenComm welcome electric vehicle bus trials


GenComm, the Belfast Metropolitan College led European hydrogen project yesterday welcomed the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric vehicle bus trials that commenced on November 10 in Dublin.

The Bus will be operated on different routes by CIÉ Group bus companies Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus as well as by Dublin City University (DCU) and Dublin Airport over a number of weeks in November and December, albeit carrying limited passengers due to the current Covid restrictions.

The zero-emissions Caetano ‘H2.CityGold’ pre-production bus will run on green hydrogen (H2) produced in Dublin by BOC Gases Ireland Ltd using renewable electricity and water.

The fuel cell electric bus is refuelled in minutes, similar to a conventional bus and its electric motive power is obtained when the Hydrogen molecules from its fuel are combined with Oxygen molecules from the air in the Fuel Cell.

GenComm and electric buses: 

At the launch of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus on the road, Hydrogen Mobility Ireland Chairman Mark Teevan (Toyota Ireland) said “This should be viewed as an important event, not because it’s the first H2 bus on the road; but because it is a first step into the future for Ireland, enabling us to begin to envisage the practical solutions that will allow us to fully decarbonise road transport.

We are all very conscious of the environmental challenge we face in meeting our 2030 targets and the need to find zero-emissions solutions that will satisfy the varying needs of different users; public transport, haulage, van delivery, taxi, or private car.

FCEV’s are Electric Vehicles, providing specific benefits that include very quick refuelling, long-range, and a particular suitability for heavy and long-distance requirements.

We are delighted that Dublin has been selected to host the very first trial of the Caetano RHD prototype fuel cell bus. “

CaetanoBus, part of the Salvador Caetano Group and Mitsui & Co, is the most important manufacturer of buses and coaches in Portugal.

In 2019, the Company presented its latest development, the H2. City Gold – the new hydrogen-powered Caetano electric bus.

At the beginning of this year, Caetano started its commercialisation phase and, in the 2nd, quarter-initiated fuel cell bus production plans.

The trial will allow the partners to test this technology in everyday driving conditions and at a challenging time of the year in terms of weather, thereby gaining valuable information about the potential for a large scale introduction of this technology in Ireland.

DCU/CIE also intends to obtain insights and feedback from passengers on the bus. This week’s news will be followed early next year by a National Transport Authority trial involving a number of Double Decker FCEV buses while in Northern Ireland HMI Member and GenComm partner Energia will shortly commence the production of H2 for road transport at a wind farm in Co. Antrim which will be used as fuel for FCEV buses in Belfast.

The increasing rate of developments is a visible confirmation that hydrogen for road transport is beginning to move into the delivery phase.

GenComm Programme Manager, Paul McCormack, said: “We are delighted that the bus is on trial and then it will be on the Bus Eireann route for a number of weeks.

The fact that it will also be on routes for Dublin bus, DCU, and Dublin Airport shows the amount of interest and buy in to seek alternatives to fossil fuels for public transport.

Ireland’s first hydrogen fuel cell bus trial is a major innovative step that will contribute to both the country’s climate challenge and public transport.”

Gencomm: Work to improve on previous bus technologies

Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport Eamon Ryan, TD, said:

“I am delighted to welcome this Low Emission Trial of a H2. City Gold hydrogen fuel cell electric bus, with the assistance of Hydrogen Mobility Ireland and CaetanoBus.

The trial will provide us with real-world insight into the operation, refuelling, and environmental impact of this innovative technology as well as enabling comparisons with the previously tested bus technologies.

Moving our urban bus fleet to cleaner and greener technologies is essential if we are to further reduce the carbon footprint of our public transport system and limit air pollutant emissions in our cities.

Under the Government’s National Development Plan, Ireland has committed to stop buying diesel-only urban buses and to transition to lower-emission alternatives.”

Stephen Kent, Chief Executive Officer, Bus Eireann said: “Bus Éireann is committed to supporting the delivery of the National Climate Action Plan, with a focus on reducing vehicle emissions.

We are targeting half of our vehicles to be zero-emission by 2030 with the remainder being low or ultra-low emission.

The additional range offered by hydrogen fuel cell vehicles makes them especially relevant and interesting to Bus Éireann, given our mix of longer commuter, stage carriage, and intercity services.

“We are delighted to be part of the HMI trial, and look forward to the experience of operating this bus over four weeks on a route from Dublin to Ashbourne.

The research and experience from this trial is an important prelude to a more extensive pilot deployment that Bus Eireann will be leading on with the National Transport Authority in early 2021.

When Covid restrictions ease, we will be very excited to welcome Bus Éireann passengers to be among the first in Ireland to travel by hydrogen.”

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