Auckland Transport (AT) and Hiringa Energy Limited are looking at trialing hydrogen powered bus services – using a hydrogen refueling facility being developed in south Auckland. Through the development of the Low Emission Bus Roadmap, AT has identified hydrogen as a potential energy storage and fuel for Auckland’s future low emission public transport fleet. AT has been assessing hydrogen fuel cell bus options to support the transition to zero emission buses and is a key partner of the hydrogen demonstration project with Ports of Auckland.
“Transport makes up more than 40% of Auckland’s emissions profile, so transitioning to low and zero-emissions vehicles is important to helping Auckland achieve its climate change goals,” said Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. “With the right infrastructure, hydrogen has the potential to power our buses and other parts of our vehicle fleet, which will help reduce emissions and lower air pollution in Auckland.”
According to AT’s chief executive Shane Ellison, there is a great benefit in exploring, with Hiringa, potential hydrogen refueling solutions for low emission bus and ferry services using green hydrogen fuel. “This would support our existing work with Ports of Auckland. Fuel cell buses meet the heavy daily demands of public transport. Hydrogen-powered buses and ferries would overcome the challenges of large and heavy battery packs on bigger buses and ferries. Hydrogen fuel offers far greater flexibility for public transport operators,” he said.
Andrew Clennett, CEO of Hiringa Energy also commented: “We applaud AT’s forward thinking and approach to emissions reduction and look forward to working with the team to leverage our refueling network and capability to ensure green hydrogen is available when needed.” He said hydrogen performs most effectively for the higher use buses that need to stay on the road, providing a service day and night, and covering the most kilometers.
Hydrogen will help public transport operators rapidly decarbonize their fleets without compromising their existing service. AT will now focus on exploring hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet deployment, with a selected bus operator contracted by them, under a new bus fleet ownership model incorporating hydrogen supply. Future work will include investigating the potential supply of green hydrogen to support future hydrogen ferry services.