Procurement of HRS – Challenges and Best Practice Solutions



Procurement of HRS – Challenges and Best Practice Solutions



Best Practice Solutions

1. Developing Tender Documents



  • Specifying the HRS requirements so that the station meets vehicles' fuelling requirements; lack of HRS standardisation
  • Determining capacity and redundancy needed
  • Meeting innovative technology requirements; developing the evaluation criteria to match the requirements
  • Permitting requirements
  • Synchronising bus and HRS delivery
  • Implementation of HRS in bus depot with limited space and coordinating with other new technologies (e.g. BEBs); allowing for flexible solutions


  • Write technical specification output-based; consider the need for redundancy (e.g. two compressors in parallel to account for possible outages)
  • Set targets for technical outputs, e.g. fuel fill times, but do not score or pay more for times that beat them
  • Be clear on outcomes required and their consequences (revenue implications; warranties; maintenance) and have them confirmed by the potential suppliers
  • Require at least one visit of potential suppliers to location for HRS; the site specifics will affect proposal details
  • Choose correct tendering procedure: large gas companies and smaller companies can provide the HRS, the latter may be more interested in submitting a proposal
  • Set target fuel price (combined fuel and maintenance) and set a price cap.
  • Consider whether to separate into two:
    1. HRS hardware; 2. Fuel supply contract (see also the following table)

2. Selecting Supplier



  • Manufacturers unresponsive; poorly written proposals
  • Matching proposal specifications with tender specifications/technology offered not meeting expectations
  • Deciding which supplier is the best choice due to the quite different concepts presented


  • Invite quotes for standard and variant bids (delivered or on-site) to see what can be offered
  • Include 'innovatory solutions' as one of the evaluation criteria – technical and commercial (e.g. scalability)
  • Evaluate on TCO basis, including 'beyond project' costs

3. Developing Contracts



  • Negotiating the whole package to a commercially viable cost


  • Be flexible with proposed solutions
  • Clarify issues of ownership and responsibility (see Common Procurement Issues)

Procurement of H2 Supply – Challenges and Best Practice Solutions


Best Practice Solutions

'Green' H2:

·        A widely agreed definition of 'Green' H2 is still not available

·        'Green washing' by providers is also still an issue.

·        Funding bodies generally want Green H2;

Currently, Hydrogen Europe has a working party dedicated to the current Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) – trying to ensure that the Green H2 definition is dealt with. While Green H2 has commonly been seen as H2 produced by an electrolyser powered by renewable energy, other forms of low carbon H2 production are being considered. In the UK, Green H2 is also emerging as steam methane reforming with offsetting arrangements. Other candidates could include by-product hydrogen, or reforming hydrocarbons in conjunction with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The CertifHy 1 and 2 projects have developed a system for guarantees of origin for Green H2 (from renewable sources) and low carbon H2, having a GHG balance below a defined threshold. The final threshold will be based on requirements defined in RED II. The preliminary figure is 36.4 gCO2eq/MJ (131 gCO2eq/kWh) using the lower calorific value of H2.

H2 Price: Difficult to get a definitive price

  • Set up fuel supply contracts for as long a term as possible (such as 10 or 15 years) to help encourage new investors and to improve price offered

·        It is possible to get a long term contract at a better price if a significant volume is assured. These contracts can contain break clauses (see Table 2‑1).

·        Set a target price and a price cap

  • Evaluate on TCO basis, including 'beyond project' costs

H2 Purity: Purchasing very pure H2 required by fuel cell manufacturers can be difficult

High levels of purity are obtainable but at an increased price; changes to the purity standards are being discussed but have not as yet been implemented

H2 Metering: Measuring accurately enough the amount of H2 refuelled (and supplied from external sources, if applicable) is still not a fully resolved issue

Ensure this issue is discussed with suppliers and understood by the local stakeholders; more accurate technology is being developed




Procurement of HRS and FCB – Useful Resources


Where to find the Resources

Talking to FCB and HRS suppliers and question them on their product specifications and experiences

For lists of suppliers see:

or search the membership list of


If possible, visit their factory and use your performance criteria to question them on performance.

Talking to and/or visiting demonstration sites with operating FCBs and HRSs

For JIVE sites see Figure 0‑1 and/or:, and/or

Currently (December 2019) the most experienced active sites are Aberdeen, Bolzano, Cologne and London.


The authors of this report can provide personal introductions, see their e-mail addresses on page 2.

Reports from JIVE/JIVE 2 and other ongoing and completed projects, including CHIC and NewBusFuel

On, for example:

  • Operators' guide to fuel cell bus deployment (JIVE 2)

Documents with a collation of training materials for staff involved in bus operation, for HRS users and first responders will become available in mid-2021

Reports on planning for HRSs

On, for example:

  • Recommendations for hydrogen infrastructure in subsequent projects (CHIC)

On, for example:

  • Guidance document on large scale hydrogen bus refuelling
  • Strategies to ensure adequate redundancy
  • An agreed definition of availability for bus depot fuelling stations and recommendations

Reports on planning for FCBs

On, for example:

  • Lessons learnt from joint procurement of fuel cell buses (JIVE)
  • Final report on the strategies for joint procurement of fuel cell buses (Report for the FCH JU)


  • Common bus operator requirements for future tendering processes (focus: links/interdependencies FCBs/HRSs)