Environmental Benefits:

- Air quality improvements : no toxic tailpipe emissions/only water vapour

- Greenhouse gases emission reductions: with the potential to fully decarbonise public transport when hydrogen is generated from renewables

Fuel Cell Electric Buses have been succesfully trialled for over a decade. The hybridised drive trains (battery and fuel cell) used in current fuel cell electric bus technology have achieved tremendous developments over the first fuel cell bus generation.

The technology that is being demonstrated today has little in common with the first fuel cell electric bus generation developed early 2000’s. There has been major improvements in efficiency, range, refuelling speeds and availability of refuelling stations since then, mainly thanks to the hybridised powertrains (battery and fuel cell), proving that the technology has reached another step closer to its commercialisation.

At this stage the fuel cell sus sector bridges the gap between fuel cell electric bus demonstration and broader commercialization.

- Fuel cell electric buses are hybrid electric buses using fuel cells and batteries to power the electric motor(s).

- The fuel cell uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity by an electro-chemical process producing only heat and water as a by-product (no harmful emissions).  The heat can be used again to warm the passenger compartment, such that as little energy as possible is lost in the process.

- The hydrogen is safely stored on-board in gaseous storage tanks on the roof.

- The energy storage devices (such as a battery or ultra-capacitor) are included to improve performance and fuel efficiency.

- The bus structure and other non-electric components are the same as the ones of conventional buses.

- Hydrogen offers much higher energy density compared to electrical storage systems (e.g. batteries, super-capacitors), this leads to a substantial driving range for the buses (more   than sufficient for a day’s operation). FCEB’s can be operated up to 16 hours a day, in all climate conditions.

- In the fuel cell hybrid bus, the fuel cell produces directly the electric power for the electric motor and/or to recharge the batteries. In addition, both types allow, through a process called regenerative braking, to recover energy lost due to braking to be utilized to charge the battery. Also called brake energy recuperation.

There are different types of fuel cell electric buses:

Standard buses (12 or 13 meter)

1) buses with a small battery and a large fuel cell ( for instance 120 kW) 

2) buses with a supercapacitor (instead of a battery) and a fuel cell (for instance 75kW)

3) buses with a large battery and a fuel cell as range extender

Articulated buses (18 meter buses)

4) buses with a larger battery and a fuel cell as range extender

Solaris : deployed in Hamburg

Fuel cell electric buses comply with demanding urban bus service operation.

Among the zero-emission powertrain options:

- fuel cell electric buses have the longest range (> 300 km) / no need to return to the depot during daily service 

- Fuel cell electric buses hybrid are electric buses 

- A hybrid vehicle uses two or more distinct types of power, such as:

  • an internal combustion engine and batteries or ultracapacitors in diesel hybrid vehicles.
  • a fuel cell and batteries in fuel cell hybrid vehicles.
  • an overhead electric (catenary) line and batteries in trolley hybrid buses.

- There are two different types of hybrid systems

  • parallel and series hybrids.


3Emotion stands for Environmentally friendly Efficient Electric 

Van Hool bus - 13 m: deployed in Antwerpen, Aberdeen, Antwerp, Oslo and Cologne

Evobus (Daimler) - 12 m: deployed in Aargau, Bozen, Milan, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe

- a tool to comply with EU, national and local regulations on low-carbon mobility and better air quality (f.e. EU air quality directive or local ambitions to clean bus fleets).

- a long term strategy focussed on reducing vulnerability to fossil fuel imports

The High V.LO-City project aims at accelerating the integration of a new generation of FCH buses (14 FC buses will be operating in Scotland (UK), Liguria (IT) and Flanders (BE)) in public transport fleets by demonstrating the technical and

Project Hytransit:

  • 6 buses, 13 meter/3 axles
  • Hydrogen storage: 50 kg, 10 tanks
  • Manufacturer : Van Hool
  • Fuel Cell manufacturer: Ballard
  • Operator : Stage Coach
  • In operation since 2014
  • 70 passengers (is limited by UK legal requirement that 1 door buses cannot exceed 70 passengers)

Project HighVLOcity

  • 4 buses, 13 m/3 axles
  • Hydrogen storage: 50 kg, 10 tanks
  • Bus Manufacturer: Van Hool
  • Fuel Cell manufacturer: Ballard
  • Operator : First Group
  • In operation since 2014
  • 70 passengers (is limited by UK legal requirement that 1 door buses cannot exceed 70 passengers)

Watch the video about Fuel Cell buses In Aberdeen:

Fuel Cell buses are very comfortable for passengers and drivers due to the

- lack of vibration

- smooth driving experience

and for the drivers, the traction power allows a quick start of the bus, even when it is full.


HyTransit funds 6 hydrogen buses in the citie of Aberdeen. The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is made up of two separate European funded projects, High Vlo City, which funds 4 buses and HyTransit which funds 6 buses, both of which are supported by the Fuel Cells

Society is moving towards a low carbon future. Engaging now:

- means benefits from co-financing supporting schemes from local, national and EU level

- allows the development of in-house expertise and infrastructure for the technologies required

Project HighVLOcity

  • 5 buses, 13 m/3 axles
  • Hydrogen storage: 40 kg, 8 tanks
  • Bus Manufacturer: Van Hool
  • Fuel Cell manufacturer: Ballard
  • Operator : De Lijn
  • In operation since 2014
  • max. nr of passengers = 103

The CHIC project is demonstrating the readiness of fuel cell electric buses for widespread commercial deployment in 8 European Countries/9cities (Argau, Bozen Milan, Olso, London, Milan, Hamburg, Cologne, Whistler)

The HyFLEET:CUTE project has involved the operation of 47 hydrogen powered buses in regular public transport service in 10 cities on three continents (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Hamb