Iceland unveils its plans for experimental hydrogen bus fleet

Iceland has taken a step closer to its goal of becoming the world’s first hydrogen economy with the unveiling of its plans for an experimental hydrogen powered bus fleet.

The country’s EUR7 million (£4.4 million) Ecological City Transport System (ECTOS) is a combined demonstration and research project looking at the infrastructure and operation of hydrogen fuel cell buses. The programme will involve an initial two years of building a hydrogen refilling station on a new Shell retail site in Reykjavik, with on site production of hydrogen by electrolysis using renewable power. This will be used to power three fuel cell buses in the Reykjavik Municipal Bus Corporation’s normal service for a further two years, in order to gauge how they will cope with day-to-say operating conditions.

The project will be the first practical steps towards the country’s ambition of running its entire public vehicle sector on hydrogen fuel, which they then plan to follow with hydrogen fuel powered private cars (see related story).

“Iceland is already a world-leader in using renewable energy, both hydroelectric and geothermal, and the ECTOS project is the first important step in our progress towards becoming the world’s first hydrogen economy,” said Thorsteinn Sijusson, Chairman of the board of directors for Icelandic New Energy Ltd (INE), the consortium co-ordinating the project.

The consortium comprises Shell Hydrogen, DaimlerChrysler, Norsk Hydro and Vistorka (EcoEnergy Ltd), which is the new majority partner, and is owned by a group of Icelandic companies and has been established specifically to take part in the venture (see related story). The project is also being supported by the European Commission, and other participants include the University of Iceland, Reykjavik Municipal Bus Corporation, and the Technological Institute of Iceland.

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