ITM Power has revealed plans to launch the first zero emission H2 bus route in France through a consortium with SMTU-PPP, Engie and Van Hool – and it will be operational from 2019.

The GNVERT-VAN HOOL consortium will create the route between the hospital and railway station in the French city of Pau within the next two years. It will be operated by the Pau transport operator companies SMTU-PPP and STAP from September 2019.

Fuelled by H2 from renewable sources, eight buses from the Bus Rapid Transit service line (BHNS) will form an artery of the new transportation network designed by the city within its urban redevelopment project aimed at improving the perception and use of public spaces in a sustainable way.

European manufacturer Van Hool will design the fuel cell buses which will not emit greenhouse gases or pollution, only water vapour.

Engie, via its GNVERT subsidiary, responsible for the distribution of alternative fuels, will take charge of the construction and operation of the H2 refuelling station for the buses. The H2 will be produced on site by an ITM Power PEM electrolyser powered by local renewable electricity.

Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, commented, “We are looking forward to supporting GNVERT, VanHool and the City of Pau in this important H2 bus project. The H2 bus market is growing rapidly and it is a great pleasure to be working with such an important group of leaders on this major step forward in France.”

Managing Director of GNVERT, the Engie Group subsidiary, added, “Pau’s choice of H2 as a zero-emission solution for a BHNS line is a tremendous boost to the energy transition of fuels. Communities are fully aware of environmental issues related to transportation and in particular the mobility of people. Pau has distinguished itself by its strong choice and the innovative character of this BHNS zero emissions line. This project demonstrates the technical and-economic feasibility of green mobility combining improvement of quality of life in urban areas with the high level of service expected from public transport.”