The German transport company Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK), representatives of the European Commission, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (known in German as BMVI) and the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis (RSK) district, officially launched 35 fuel cell buses and two hydrogen refueling stations in Meckenheim.
The RVK has been running on hydrogen since 2011. Thanks to the support of RVK’s shareholders, the then still visionary project was developed in several stages deploying first two prototypes, then two pre-series buses from 2014 to the current state: the largest fleet of fuel cell buses in Europe!
In cooperation with various industrial partners, a refueling station in Meckenheim (AREVA consortium), a refueling station in Wermelskirchen (Linde GmbH) and a total of 35 A330 fuel cell buses (Van Hool) for the RVK bus fleet will go into operation in 2020.
After the necessary training of driving personnel and final commissioning of the refueling station, the first 10 fuel cell buses will soon be in regular service in Meckenheim. In its current expansion stage, the facility will enable the daily refueling of 20 buses in two cycles of 10 vehicles each. The remaining 25 buses are used at the RVK locations Wermelskirchen and Bergisch Gladbach in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district and the city of Hürth.
“The use of fuel cell buses represents a further, significant step towards improving the quality of public transport,” said Sebastian Schuster, the District Administrator of the Rhein-Sieg. “We are proud to be part of a pioneering role that is attracting attention throughout Europe, and would like to encourage other regions to get on the road as well and thus make a substantial contribution to climate action.”
RVK is receiving grants for the purchase of the fuel cell buses from the FCH JU (Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) as part of the EU-funded project JIVE, as well as co-funding from the BMVI under the NIP-2 program. The infrastructure development that has taken place is also supported by funds from the NIP-2 program and by INEA (Wermelskirchen only) as part of the EU project MEHRLIN.
Federal Minister Andreas Scheuerstated commented: “Today, Europe’s largest fuel cell fleet with 35 buses and two hydrogen refueling stations goes into operation in Meckenheim. This will bring hydrogen technology to people in everyday life. This is exactly what it is all about: bringing modern and climate-friendly technologies onto the road and inspiring people. To this end, we are investing around 14 million euros in the project until 2021.”
The EU is paying further subsidies amounting to around 7 million euros to RVK for the procurement of the 35 fuel cell buses and the hydrogen tank system in Wermelskirchen, which will be delivered in 2020.
By the end of 2021, RVK will integrate a further 15 fuel cell buses into its fleet in the Rhein-Sieg district, the Rheinisch-Bergisch district and in Hürth as part of the subsidized projects. These buses will also be purchased as part of the EU project JIVE 2 and funded by the FCH JU, the BMVI via the NIP2 program and Ministry of Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia. In total, RVK will then have 50 fuel cell buses.
Source: Hydrogen Europe