Hydrogen transport trials underway

Client news

An exciting demonstration of green zero emission public transport is underway in the Neath Port Talbot and Swansea area of South Wales.

An exciting demonstration of green zero emission public transport is underway in the Neath Port Talbot and Swansea area of South Wales. Bus operator South Wales Transport and private hire operator Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions are providing transport services to the community using locally produced electrolytic green hydrogen made from renewable energy and local water.

The initiative is being delivered by a private sector consortium responding to the climate change emergency which is affecting local communities in South Wales as well as communities all over the world. The hydrogen fuelled H2 City Gold electric bus is being provided by Caetano Bus UK with the HyQube refueller being provided by Fuel Cell Systems.  The hydrogen fuel is being produced and supplied by green hydrogen developer Protium, from their recently commissioned installation at the University of South Wales Hydrogen Centre in Baglan.

Swansea University exam students have recently been travelling on the bus as part of the University’s Park and Ride provision.  They have been able to experience a quiet and smooth journey to their exam hall with filtered air and no polluting fumes.

Jayne Cornellius of Swansea University’s sustainability team commented:

Decarbonising public transport is key to achieving our individual and collective commitments for net zero carbon. We are thrilled to participate in this South Wales Transport trial, supporting us in encouraging our staff and students to use sustainable travel to and from campus and driving down personal carbon footprints and collective commuting emissions of organisations like the University”

The bus trial will continue to run on the exam route and will be adding an additional route running between Neath bus station and the town of Pontardawe. 

The Neath route has been chosen to see how the bus performs on long hills which is a challenge for battery powered buses and is a great demonstration of the advantages of hydrogen powered vehicles. Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Economic Growth, Cllr Jeremy Hurley, said:

“We are pleased to support these trials as the use of hydrogen is very much part of the council’s Decarbonisation and Renewable Energy (DARE) strategy. Hydrogen fuelled buses offer a practical solution for communities to decarbonise public transport and immediately improve air quality. These trials are great news for our county borough and the rest of the region as they could lead the way for cleaner public transport.”

The Caetano H2 City Gold has an equivalent range to that of a conventional diesel vehicle and takes a similar time to refuel making it a very convenient choice for operators.  The bus is suitable for urban and rural areas which is an important consideration for linking communities all across Wales.

Fuel Cell Systems are building on their successful trials in Milford Haven where they supported Pembrokeshire council and the UKRI Milford Haven Energy Kingdom project.  They were also integral in the design of the hydrogen producing Pioneer facility in Baglan developed by Protium, and see big opportunities for additional production and refuelling sites in the region.

Tom Chicken, CEO of Fuel Cell Systems summarised:

“Hydrogen technologies are working and available now. We’ve shown this. It’s more important than ever before that we have energy security, independence, and emissions reduction and that we continue to show hydrogen as a commercially viable fuel source.”

Protium have already committed to Wales having established a Caerphilly office in 2021 and are continuing to look for investment opportunities in Wales.

Chris Jackson, CEO and founder of Protium, said:

“We’re proud to be bringing Wales’ largest green hydrogen electrolyser in operation to the fore of this project. The green hydrogen we produce at our Baglan-based electrolyser, Pioneer 1, means that we can supply these exciting new bus trials. Pioneer 1 is the largest UK deployment of the Enapter Earthshot Prize technology, the competition created and led by the Prince of Wales. Pioneer 1 represents the first of our three green hydrogen projects under development in Wales, and we’re thrilled to be putting Wales at the forefront of sustainable energy solutions.”

South Wales Transport is a family-owned and operated business that runs bus and coach services out of Swansea.  They are trialling sustainable fuels and technologies to help decarbonise their operations for the benefit of their customers and communities.  As part of the Caetano bus trials, they will be getting feedback from the vehicle, the drivers and also the passengers to help inform their future provision. Bev Fowles, MD of South Wales Transport commented:

“It’s great to be able to test new technologies such as the Caetano City Gold bus in real world scenarios.  I’m confident that hydrogen will help us achieve a Net Zero public transport system in South Wales.”

Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions has established the first private hire operator in Wales that runs hydrogen fuel celled passenger cars such as the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai Nexo.  Chris Foxall, Founder and CEO of Hyppo Hydrogen said:

“The fuel cell was invented by Swansea resident Sir William Grove and so it is a fitting place to start a hydrogen services business that builds on this legacy.  Hyppo is looking to expand its operations beyond the trial, building a local hydrogen ecosystem that will help decarbonise communities and create local jobs.”

The trials are operating ahead of the Western Gateway Hydrogen conference being held at Celtic Manor on June 9th.  The bus and cars will be displayed at the event and feedback from the trials will be shared with delegates which include local authorities within the Western Gateway region.

For any enquiries please email info@hyppo.co.uk