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RVK orders up to 100 more hydrogen buses for Cologne

Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK), the public transport operator for Cologne, Germany, has ordered up to 100 hydrogen-powered fuel cell hybrid buses in the first phase of a procurement. This order was enabled by the recently announced funding from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV). RVK already has the largest fleet of hydrogen Fuel Cell EV buses in Europe, with 52 units of varying types.

The result of a Europe-wide tender for hydrogen-powered buses, RVK ordered up to 40 buses (20 guaranteed and 20 optional) from Solaris Bus & Coach S.A. and up to 60 (20 guaranteed and 40 optional) buses from WrightBus.


The Wrightbus Kite Hydroliner single deck buses will be the first integral left-hand drive vehicles that Wrightbus has made and exported since green entrepreneur Jo Bamford bought the firm out of administration in 2019.

The first Wrightbus vehicles will be delivered to RVK in 2023, with the remainder due in 2024.

Through the funding from the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport and the rapid tender, we are making great steps closer to our goal of zero emissions. We are looking forward to the early delivery of the Solaris buses and to gain new experience with Wrightbus as another manufacturer—this is of great importance when converting our fleet.

—Dr. Marcel Frank, Managing Director of RVK

The buses are funded by the BMDV within the framework of the BMDV’s Bus/Rail Funding Directive. The funding guideline is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by the Jülich Project Management Agency (PtJ).



This does not make much sense to me. It would be more cost effective and energy efficient to use battery electric buses and Germany already has problems with not having enough energy.


Europe has RNG to make hydrogen


After cutting off much of the Russian natural gas, Europe and Germany in particular is already short of natural gas whether is derived from "renewable" sources or from drilled wells. There are numerous ways to generate hydrogen. Most of it comes from steam reformation of natural gas. The best source for "green" hydrogen is high temperature thermal chemical reactions but these require a temperature in excess of 950 deg C and the best source of this heat is a high temperature fast nuclear reactor but Germany is down on nuclear power and is in the process of taking down their reactors (but maybe wisdom will prevail with the current energy shortages). High temperature electrolysis using nuclear power is the next best option as it requires far less electric power.


How are electric bus fires like the one recently in Paris working for you?


"How are electric bus fires like the one recently in Paris working for you?"
Just as appealing as the two fossil gas hogs that recently burned down in Mannheim, Germany.


Mannstein, Hydrogen electric buses also have the same type of batteries although they are smaller. But then they have the added flammability of hydrogen in ultra-high pressure tanks that could explode and burn.



The small batteries that fuel cell vehicles need ( around 1.5KWh ) in the Mirai and Nexo don't need the high energy density and fast charge capability to difficult to engineer into the massive BEV batteries so there is more headroom to engineer in safety..

Should they still go aflame it obviously takes way less water to douse than the gigantic quantities needed for a 50-100KWh battery.

As you say, of course there is some level of risk from the hydrogen.
However, so long as there is adequate emergency ventilation then the explosive risk can largely, although of course not absolutely, be engineered down.

For the remaining risk of fire the venting is designed to allow the hydrogen, even if aflame, to vent away from the passenger compartment.

When I looked at the safety measures designed in 15 years or so ago, my conclusion is that if I were unfortunate enough to be in a vehicle that caught fire, I would far rather be in a fuel cell car than in a petrol car, with its tendency to pool.

Hydrogen whether on fire or not rapidly vents upwards, which enables decent design to greatly reduce risk.


Next year, a year from now, VW will start to equip their first test vehicles with SSBs from Quantumscape. With the introduction of these batteries, the feared incendiary risks will disappear.

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