Following the Conceptualisation of the project, the next task is to find ways to meet the costs of the project and commence planning. This Section is divided into:

  • Sourcing Finance – both in terms of determining and covering the costs.
  • Planning for HRS Operations and FCB Operations– general and specific challenges and Best Practice Solutions.

Getting the money for any innovative initiative can frequently be complex and difficult. Especially when the initiative is being developed and implemented within a commercial, public transport bus operating environment. 

Ballard published 'The Special Tools kit' is composed of tools to be used for common diagnostics of the fuel cell system such as a conductivity meter, hydrogen detector, adaptors needed for calibration and a USB interface for CAN c

This section on fuel cell bus (FCB) implementation, documents the learning that has occurred from the most recent FCB projects, including the procurement of the FCBs and hydrogen refuelling stations (HRSs). Deployment and Operations will be updated as more information becomes available.

In the initial phase, a credible budget and a dialogue between key partners need to be established

Involve key delivery partners at an early stage (transit agencies, health and safety officials, fire-fighters, local councils, etc.)

 

Developing the overall concept of a fuel cell bus project sets the scope and, in many ways, the basis for the overall success of the project.

The Project Conceptualisation Stage provides the context within which the buses will operate and be perceived by the key stakeholders. It can also facilitate a broader framework within which other applications of hydrogen and fuel cell technology can be developed and utilised. These can provide a means to address energy system-wide and environmental issues as well.

The project development team needs to develop a good understanding of the market and its key players

- Provide partners with a list of main stakeholders on the supply side and talk to them in advance of any planning:

Overall, there are two aspects of developing an FCB project which has considerable influence on the ease and success of the future project path. 

As the technology is not yet fully commercial, partners will need to access sources of match funding

- The project development team will develop a budget for the project

Setting up an FCB project today still requires the strong support of many stakeholders to provide personnel capacity and relevant expertise or funding. Acquiring this support can also bring the risk of ‘overselling’ the technology and raising very high expectations. On the other hand, high initial expectations may be necessary to get such a project approved at all. These expectations must be well managed during the course of the project. 

 

Local actors may source match-funding for financing their trial from sponsoring bodies at a regional,national or european level:

There is a wide range of stakeholders who can provide important and powerful support to your FCB project, or just as powerful opposition.

On the support side, as an example, an influential and involved Steering Group can provide significant ‘political’ support. It might consist of senior representatives from the local administration and the PTA/PTO, as well as respected political leaders (political ‘champions’), to maintain support and obtain advice.

On the opposition side, this may be very local, such as neighbours to the proposed refuelling site, or quite distant, such as national or international environmental organisations

A “Self-Assessment Questionnaire” for bus operators has been developed by Roland Berger Consultants for the FCH JU,

to assess the level of preparedness and commitment for large-scale fuel cell bus integration into the bus fleets at individual participating locations of the bus commercialisation study  .

It also provides orientation and a pathway for successful fuel cell bus deployment as it covers the main aspects to be considered in a structured and systematic way.

This way, it also supports cities and regions in their respective planning.

The operational stage is the most essential aspect of an FCB project. It is the reason for embarking on the project. It will provide critical information to determine the future of the application of H2 and FCB technology at that site. It will also be the most public activity of the project and therefore, most open to scrutiny. Suc-cess is critical, and only careful and thorough planning can achieve this. The saying "Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail" certainly holds when applied to an FCB Project.

Have you ever wondered how the process of procuring fuel cell buses and hydrogen refuelling stations works? This section includes all you need to know about it.

Information on challenges and best practice solutions for hydrogen refuelling stations and fuel cell buses procurement.

Information on challenges and best practice solutions for hydrogen refuelling stations procurement.

Allocate sufficient resources for staff training and refreshing courses, with focus on practical training; involve dedicated staff

Information on challenges and best practice solutions for fuel cell bus procurement.

Explain to (and remind) all staff the demonstration nature of the project and the challenges of the operation of a new technology at the beginning to secure buy-in and allow better planning

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