The Hydrogen Bus Alliance, currently chaired by Transport for London (TfL), is calling upon suppliers in the hydrogen and bus manufacturing industries to join forces and work towards the continued development of an economic hydrogen economy.

Working in partnership with the industry, the Hydrogen Bus Alliance aims to support the continued and rapid development and commercialisation of hydrogen technology in the public transport sector. The Alliance comprises representatives from the public transport authorities of international cities and regions that have demonstrated a clear commitment to hydrogen technology.

Many of the partners have already taken part in successful trials of hydrogen buses and have all made a commitment to purchase at least 5 new hydrogen buses to begin operating between 2008 and 2012.

The Alliance aims to ensure that hydrogen buses can compete with their diesel counterparts in terms of cost and performance by 2015, but it is thought that a number of technical and commercial requirements must be met before the partners can make a long-term commitment to hydrogen technology.

Addressing this, the Alliance launched its Industry Dialogue at the Canadian High Commission recently. The Canadian Deputy High Commissioner, Guy St Jacques, said, “The Hydrogen Bus Alliance has already proved incredibly valuable, allowing the partners to share information on the performance of hydrogen buses, and plans for purchasing more such vehicles. It now looks to the manufacturers and suppliers to help build on that success and ensure the continued development of hydrogen technology.”

Peter Hendy, Commissioner for TfL, added, “The Hydrogen Bus Alliance is proof positive that there is a market for hydrogen technology in the public transport sector. And, what's more, that there is the political will to support the development of that technology.”

“However, we need to work with suppliers to ensure that our aspirations are realistic. As part of the Mayor's plans to tackle climate change, TfL is in the process of buying 10 hydrogen buses, and while we are prepared to pay a premium for these early models, we need reassurances that costs can and will come down in the very near future. Those assurances will allow us to plan for a rapid expansion of hydrogen buses in the fleets of our contractors,” Hendy concluded.