Ballymena built double-decker hydrogen bus fleet launched onto London streets

London’s iconic red buses have gone green after England’s first hydrogen double decker buses - built by Ballymena firm Wrightbus - were launched on to the capital’s streets today.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 3:51 pm

The fleet will be the second in the UK, after Wrightbus launched its world-first hydrogen double deckers in Aberdeen in January this year.

The 20 new environmentally-friendly buses, the first of their kind to be launched in England will produce no pollution from their exhausts and join more than 500 electric buses in the core fleet which are already zero-emission. The new hydrogen fuel cell double decker buses are first being introduced on route 7 between East Acton and Oxford Circus.

Hydrogen used in a fuel cell is free from harmful emissions. The only by-product is water from the chemical reaction of hydrogen with oxygen from air, a process that produces electricity to power the bus. The buses will help clean up the air and improve the health of Londoners by reducing the level of harmful nitrogen oxide in the air. Passengers will benefit from smoother, quieter journeys due to fewer vibrations and will be able to take advantage of free-to-use USB charging points.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will today launch England’s first ever hydrogen double decker buses

The Mayor’s green transport investment is also supporting jobs across the UK. The buses were manufactured by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland, helping to create new jobs, and the gas cylinders are manufactured by Luxfer in Nottingham. The hydrogen for the buses is currently being produced at Air Liquide’s plant in Runcorn, harnessing waste hydrogen as a by-product from an industrial chlor-alkali plant. Oxford-based Ryze Hydrogen is responsible for transporting the fuel to the fuelling station. From 2023, the hydrogen will be even greener as it will be produced by electrolysis powered by a direct connection to an offshore windfarm.

A new, state of the art fuelling station completed by Danish engineering firm Nel Hydrogen will top up each hydrogen fuel cell bus just once per day in as little as five minutes.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As part of our world-leading ongoing efforts, I’m proud to announce England’s first hydrogen double decker buses, which don’t produce any harmful emissions, will now be put into service.

“Our investment in these hydrogen buses is not only helping us to clean up London’s air, but is supporting jobs and local economics across the UK. This is a great demonstration of how tackling air pollution and the climate crisis and boosting economic growth is about regions working together, investing in the very latest technology.”

Wrightbus CEO, Buta Atwal, said: “At Wrightbus, we’re incredibly proud to be launching our world-first zero emission hydrogen double deckers onto the streets of London to help turn its iconic red buses green. London residents - and visitors to the capital from around the world - can experience what it’s like to ride in a UK-made hydrogen-fuelled vehicle that produces no harmful emissions from its exhaust. Thanks to TfL’s visionary approach, the city will have the first fleet of hydrogen double deckers in England and the benefits to the city in terms of CO2 reduction will be significant. We hope that other cities around the country will follow London’s lead and help us in our ambition to decarbonise public transport and improve air quality.”