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EC Wraps up CUTE Fuel-Cell Bus Project; Announces Follow-On Transportation Projects

The new hydrogen projects are part of a larger European hydrogen research, development and demonstration framework.

The European Commission today released the results from the world’s largest trial of hydrogen fuel-cell powered buses at the Clean Urban Transport for Europe (CUTE) Conference in Hamburg, and announced the launch of a new hydrogen transportation initiative.

Since mid-2003, 27 public transport buses have covered more than 1 million km and carried more than 4 million people in 9 European cities as part of the CUTE project. Six of the original cities operating the Mercedes-Benz Citaro fuel-cell buses—Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, Madrid—along with Reykjavik from the comparable ECTOS (Ecological City Transport System) project, decided earlier this year to continue their projects through the end of 2006. (Earlier post.)

Achievements of the CUTE Project include:

  • The design, construction and operation of nine different hydrogen supply chains and refuelling stations;

  • The production and use of more than 192 tonnes of hydrogen, of which 100 tonnes from renewable sources;

  • The safe implementation of nearly 9,000 bus refuelling operations; and

  • A bus availability greater than 90%.

The new Hydrogen for Transport initiative will involve the daily operation throughout Europe of around 200 hydrogen-powered vehicles and the corresponding hydrogen supply infrastructure. It represents a public-private investment of €105 million (US$135 million), of which the European Commission contributes €48 million (US$62 million).

The new hydrogen initiative comprises three demonstration projects.

  • HyFLEET:CUTE will put nearly 50 hydrogen-powered buses into operation on three continents around the globe. 34 hydrogen fuel-cell buses will operate in Amsterdam, Beijing (China), Barcelona, London, Luxemburg, Madrid, Perth (Western Australia), and Reykjavik (Iceland), while 14 hydrogen buses powered with internal combustion engines (ICE) will come onto the Berlin streets. The project will also see the development of new generations of more efficient and more competitive buses in both technologies.

  • ZERO REGIO will see the operation of 8 fuel-cell passenger cars in Frankfurt and Mantova.

  • HyCHAIN:MINITRANS will operate 158 small transport vehicles (mini vans, mini buses, scooters, cargo bicycles and wheel chairs) in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. These small vehicles represent a market of millions of units, and could very well be the entry point for hydrogen and fuel cells. (Earlier post.)




I've been on one of these buses here in Perth. Three are on trial here. They are speed limited to 80km/h to avoid drivetrain damage so they cannot travel on highways and freeways where speeds are 90km/h and 100km/h respectively.

The driveline refinement is better than even brand new Mercedes Benz/Volgren Euro 4 CNG buses but the ride comfort is a little worse.

The hydrogen is produced at the BP refinery in the southern Perth suburb of Kwinana.


Hi Greg, This article will tell you some things about the fuel cell operations in Europe. Amsterdam has 2 fuel cell buses which are very successful. Love, Dad

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