Hydrogen buses come to London

Transport for London has signed a prime contract with San Diego, California based ISE Corporation for the supply of ten hydrogen-powered buses.


Transport for London (TfL) has signed a contract with San Diego, California based ISE Corporation (ISE) to supply it with ten hydrogen-powered buses which will be delivered to TfL by 2010.


All 10 of the hydrogen-powered buses will be built using ISE’s ThunderVolt series hybrid drive system technology, five of which will be hydrogen hybrid fuel cell buses and the other five will be hydrogen hybrid internal combustion engine (HHICE) buses.


Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, confirmed that the 10 new hydrogen-powered buses are part of the Mayor’s plan to have up to 70 hydrogen vehicles in operation in London by 2010, as set out in the London Hydrogen Partnership’s Transport Action Plan.


With these clean vehicles, London will become the first city in Europe to operate a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell and HHICE buses.


The hydrogen hybrid fuel cell buses will produce electrical energy by passing hydrogen through a fuel cell where the hydrogen combines with oxygen from the air to form electricity, water vapour and heat, the only by-products of the process. The HHICE buses will produce electrical energy through a conventional combustion process, by igniting hydrogen in a specially built V10 internal combustion engine manufactured by Ford which drives an electric generator.


The hydrogen used by both hybrid systems is stored in pressurised tanks on the roof of the bus. At the heart of these buses is ISE’s hybrid technology that is currently powering nearly 150 hybrid transit buses in North America.


ISE will be working with a number of partners, including The Wright Group, a bus manufacturer based in Northern Ireland, and Ballard Power Systems, a fuel cell manufacturer based in Canada. Transit operator First Group will operate the new fleet for TfL.