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More Hydrogen Buses

November 4, 2017 4:59 PM

Birmingham City Council Approves £13.4m Pilot Scheme for 20 hydrogen-fueled buses

From FuelCellsWorks, October 27, 2017

Bimingham--Birmingham City Council has approved a pilot scheme which will see at least 20 new cleaner, zero emission hydrogen-fuelled buses take to Birmingham's roads.

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.

A report due to go before Cabinet on October 24 asks members to approve the full business case for the pilot, as well as giving the go-ahead to find a bus operator via an open tender process and using the Transport for London Hydrogen Bus Framework to purchase the proposed vehicles, which will be delivered by March 2019.

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.

Councillor Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Transport and Roads, said: "Public transport plays a key role in encouraging people to leave their cars at home and choose alternative methods of travelling around the city, which in turn will help reduce both congestion on our roads and the impact of vehicle emissions on the environment.

"It therefore follows that we must look at ways to make public transport more environmentally friendly too, which is why this hydrogen bus pilot is so important. If successful, this could completely change bus travel in a way that will benefit the entire city."

Councillor Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Air Quality, said: "Air pollution is a major public health issuing affecting us all. We are clear that every single person in Birmingham has the right to clean air.

"While we recognise that we face a significant challenge in meeting air quality compliance standards in the city, the introduction of hydrogen fuelled buses as part of this pilot is a hugely positive step forward in supporting the work we are doing towards achieving that."

Council Decision Below

On 24 October 2017, Cabinet:- (i) Approved the Full Business Case at Appendix A to the report, for the CAHB pilot at an estimated capital cost of up to £13.440m, funded from OLEV grant (£3.814m), FCHJU grant (£4.141m) GBSLEP Local Growth Fund (£2.156m), Bus Operator minimum contribution (£3.289m) and approved Future Council Programme resources of £0.040m, to procure and deploy up to 22 hydrogen fuelled buses for use by a procured Bus Operator and to provide grant aid towards the cost of providing hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. (ii) Approved the procurement strategy provided in the FBC to the report (Annex A to the report), that proposes firstly to use an 'open tender' approach to procure a Bus Operator and secondly, to utilise the Transport For London (TfL) Hydrogen Bus framework to purchase the proposed hydrogen buses; (iii) Approved the Council acting as Accountable Body for the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) grant and accepts their offer of £3.814m capital grant; (iv) Authorised the Assistant Director - Transport and Connectivity to pass-port with conditions of grant, £1.340m of the OLEV grant funding to TfL, as joint applicant under the OLEV Grant scheme, to enable them to fund their own procurement of hydrogen buses; (v) Authorised the Assistant Director - Transport and Connectivity to make a grant of £1.0m to ITM Power, the hydrogen re-fuelling infrastructure partner, funded from the OLEV capital grant towards the cost for hydrogen re-fuelling infrastructure to be based at Tyseley Energy Park subject to the completion of a funding agreement; (vi) Accepted grant funding of £4.141m from the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Joint Undertaking (FCHJU) comprising £4.081m for capital and £0.060m for revenue expenditure; (vii) Approved the Council to act as Accountable Body for Local Growth Fund grant from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and accepts their offer of £2.156m capital grant, subject to receipt of a final offer letter; (viii) Authorised the Corporate Director, Economy, in conjunction with the Interim Chief Finance Officer, the Director of Commissioning and Procurement and the City Solicitor (or their delegates) to award a contract for the manufacture and delivery of up to 22 hydrogen buses subject to the values not exceeding pre-tender estimates; (ix) Authorised the Corporate Director, Economy, in conjunction with the Interim Chief Finance Officer, the Director of Commissioning and Procurement and the City Solicitor (or their delegates) to enter into a lease agreement for the use of the 22 hydrogen fuelled buses for a period of 7 years on the basis of the procurement process outlined in Annex A to the report; (x) Authorised the City Solicitor to negotiate, execute and complete any necessary legal documentation to give effect to the above decisions.