Britain's bus and rail operator Go-Ahead Group has introduced a fleet of 54 zero emission hydrogen fuel cell buses to operate on routes in the Gatwick Airport, Crawley and Horley area.
Manufactured by Wrightbus, 20 buses will be deployed initially followed by 34 more over the next 18 months. The single-decker GB Kite Hydroliner buses can cover long ranges and carry heavy loads.
"It is great to see these 20 new hydrogen buses on our roads, one of the largest fleets in the UK, backed by over £4.3 million (about $5.45 million U.S., at current exchange rates) of funding from our Ultra-Low Emission Bus scheme, " said Richard Holden MP, Minister for Roads and Local Transport. "With nearly 3,400 Zero Emission Buses funded across the UK since February 2020, this latest fleet puts us well on the way to meeting our target of 4,000 ZEBs."
The fleet will be served by Air Products' liquid hydrogen refueling station in Crawley. Upon reaching its full capacity, the station is anticipated to provide the equivalent of fuel for over 100 buses per day.
“We are proud to be part of this exciting project, where we intend to deliver green hydrogen produced in Immingham from imported renewable energy sources such as the NEOM Green Hydrogen project, where there’s an abundance of sun and wind," said Manish Patel, Air Products Hydrogen for Mobility Director UK. "The project is an excellent example of companies collaborating and pioneering in the energy transition space. Together, we are making the decarbonization of public transport a reality; our liquid hydrogen-fed refueling station will be able to reliably serve the depot’s full fleet.”
Moving towards a goal of being a net zero county by 2050, Surrey County Council has invested £16.4 million to introduce 34 of the 54 hydrogen fuel cell buses across the county, according to Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Growth. The county will also be investing in bus priority measures, real time passenger information and on-demand bus services.
“We want half of our passengers and staff to get to the airport using sustainable transport, so we’re investing in our public transport facilities," said Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive, London Gatwick Airport. "In addition to this zero-emission bus fleet, we have also upgraded a vital bus interchange with accessible lifts and our redeveloped train station will open soon. We also hope to see further advances in the use of hydrogen at the airport in the years ahead."