The fuel cell bus sector in Europe has received a tremendous boost this week with the launch of the JIVE 2 project yesterday in Brussels.

Coordinated by Element Energy, and supported by a €25m ($31m) grant from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), the JIVE 2 (Second Joint Initative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe) project will deploy 152 fuel cell electric buses across 14 European cities throughout France, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK. This will expand the network of cities trialling fuel cell buses in Europe, demonstrating a growing appetite for the technology.

For most of these cities, this will be the first venture into fuel cell bus operation and they will be supported in their endeavour by a number of seasoned industry experts as well as industry grouping Hydrogen Europe.

“With this collaborative approach, JIVE 2 will not only address cities’ pressing envioronmental challenges, air quality and noise pollution; it will also allow European industry to test and further improve their products, generate high qualified employment and foster further research in this technology.”

Bart Biebuyck, FCH JU’s Executive Director

The collaborative project is an expansion of the JIVE initiative which is now entering its second year of activity. Combined, the JIVE projects will deploy nearly 300 fuel cell buses in 22 cities across Europe by the early 2020s – the largest deployment in Europe to date.

Stricter air quality regulations being introduced by some cities and municipalities will see current diesel buses banned from many city centres over the next few years. Fuel cell electric buses represent a viable alternative for public transport authorities, offering the same operational flexibility as diesel buses but without the harmful tailpipe emissions. By the end of the project, JIVE 2 aims to prove the operational capacity of fuel cell buses and to lay the foundations for uptake on a large scale.

Ben Madden, Director of Element Energy, said, “This project represents another step towards fuel cell buses becoming mainstream technology across Europe and being able to achieve the economies of scale needed for commercialisation. We are now starting to see manufacturers using the momentum created by the JIVE initiative to develop new designs and then offer these buses at a commercially viable price. This is a significant turning point both for the future success of the technology and the decarbonisation of Europe’s public transport networks.”

Bart Biebuyck, FCH JU’s Executive Director, added, “With this collaborative approach, JIVE 2 will not only address cities’ pressing environmental challenges, air quality and noise pollution; it will also allow European industry to test and further improve their products, generate high qualified employment and foster further research in this technology. Thanks to FCH JU projects such as JIVE and JIVE 2, we are proud to keep Europe in the leadership of this innovative technology.”