Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK) has been awarded €7.4m ($8.7m) to purchase 30 fuel cell buses and two hydrogen (H2) refuelling stations in Cologne, Germany.

When the busses are brought into service from 2019, the company will possess one of the largest emission-free bus fleets in Europe.

The funding has been awarded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) under the National Innovation Programme for Hydogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). This BMVI-awarded grant supplements funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) totaling €5.6m ($6.6m) under the JIVE EU project, already received in January. JIVE is the largest fuel cell bus project in Europe.

The 30 fuel cell hybrid busses are to be stationed at the RVK locations of Hürth, Meckenheim and Wermelskirchen. There is a subsidy option for another 10 vehicles to be launched in 2020 at the latest.

To establish the requisite infrastructure, RVK plans to construct a H2 refuelling station at their sites in Meckenheim (Rhine-Sieg district) and Wermelskirchen (Rhine-Bergisch district). The commissioning of both stations is planned for the end of 2018. Another H2 refuelling station for commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles will begin operation in 2018 too at the Cologne/Bonn airport. The existing H2 refuelling station in Hürth will also be extended and upgraded.