The commercialization of fuel cell buses in Europe has taken another step forward with the recent launch of the JIVE 2 project (Second Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe).
Coordinated by Element Energy and supported by a EUR 25 million grant from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), the JIVE 2 project aims to deploy 152 fuel cell electric buses across 14 European cities throughout France, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and the U.K. This will expand the network of cities trialing fuel cell buses in Europe, demonstrating a growing appetite for the technology.
For most of these cities, this will be the first venture into fuel cell bus operation, and they will be supported in their endeavor by a number of seasoned industry experts, as well as industry grouping Hydrogen Europe.
The collaborative project is an expansion of the JIVE initiative, which is now entering its second year of activity. Combined, the JIVE projects are expected to deploy nearly 300 fuel cell buses in 22 cities across Europe by the early 2020s.
Fuel cell electric buses represent a cleaner alternative for public transport authorities, offering the same operational flexibility as diesel buses but without the tailpipe emissions. By the end of the project, JIVE 2 aims to prove the operational capacity of fuel cell buses and to lay the foundations for uptake on a large scale.
This will involve addressing a number of barriers currently preventing widespread uptake, including reducing vehicle ownership costs, increasing the variety of models available and establishing continent-wide low-cost, reliable sources of renewable hydrogen fuel.
The increased scale of deployment through the JIVE initiatives is expected to help create the conditions for accelerated development of European bus manufacturers’ production capabilities by the early 2020s. This will help enable them to achieve the economies of scale needed for mass roll-out of fuel cell buses, positioning this technology to become a key zero-emission public transport alternative in the coming years.
Ben Madden, director of Element Energy, says, “We are delighted to be able to expand the JIVE initiative through the launch of the JIVE 2 project. This project represents another step toward fuel cell buses becoming mainstream technology across Europe and being able to achieve the economies of scale needed for commercialization. We are now starting to see manufacturers using the momentum created by the JIVE initiative to develop new designs and then offer these buses at a commercially viable price. This is a significant turning point both for the future success of the technology and the decarbonization of Europe’s public transport networks.”
Bart Biebuyck – executive director of FCH JU, a public-private partnership – says, “The FCH JU is proud to launch its new project JIVE 2. With this collaborative approach, JIVE 2 will not only address cities’ pressing environmental challenges, air quality and noise pollution; it will also allow European industry to test and further improve their products, generate high-qualified employment and foster further research in this technology. Thanks to FCH JU projects such as JIVE and JIVE 2, we are proud to keep Europe in the leadership of this innovative technology.”
The JIVE 2 project will run for six years from January 2018. The project is co-financed by the FCH 2 JU under the European Union – Horizon 2020 framework program for research and innovation under the project number 779563.