Hungary is launching its first-ever hydrogen-powered public bus service between Budapest and nearby Vecsés. Passengers can try the Solaris Urbino 12 electric H2 fuel cell bus free of charge under the three-week test period. The demonstration project is organised under Hungary’s Green Bus Programme, which follows the country’s commitment to achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
“The transport sector accounts for around a fifth of Hungary’s CO2 emissions,” said Attila Steiner Hungary’s State Secretary for the Development of Circular Economy, Energy and Climate Policy, adding that the Green Bus Programme was launched to cut back on the emissions of public transport. He underlined that hydrogen can be a promising technology for the decarbonisation of long-distance transportation.
“Ideally, the energy used to produce hydrogen is carbon dioxide-free, and our long-term goal is to support this,” underlined the State Secretary adding that this pilot project aims to better understand the possibilities of hydrogen technology in public transport.
“Fuel cell buses can already compete with conventional diesel buses in terms of range and their charging time is not much longer,” emphasised Balázs Weingartner, President and CEO of the Hungarian Automotive and Green Mobility Development Agency, the organiser of the pilot project. He added that although the technology is still an expensive solution, with time it will become more affordable.
The test bus is operated by the national bus carrier Volánbusz. The company has already purchased 40 electric buses in the framework of the Green Bus Programme and now would like to gain more experience with hydrogen-fuelled vehicles from the three-week testing period.
The hydrogen fuel required for the operation of the bus will be provided by Linde Gas Hungary at their hydrogen test refuelling station, which is the first and so far the only refuelling station in Hungary.
Ákos Hegedüs, the CEO of Linde Gas Hungary emphasised that alongside the centralisation of production capacities, the integration of various user needs are also necessary to establish a hydrogen ecosystem.
Before coming to Hungary the Solaris Urbino 12 electric H2 fuel cell bus has been tested in many cities in Western Europe. The Polish bus manufacturer has received almost 150 orders since the model was introduced, added Mateusz Figaszewski, Director of E-mobility development and Market Intelligence.
Hungary envisions that the hydrogen demand of the transportation sector will grow to 10,000 tons by 2030. Its National Hydrogen Strategy, approved last year focuses on heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks, waste collections vehicles and city buses, which may appear on the road as early as the beginning of the 2020s. The goal is to reach 4,800 Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles on the roads by 2030, From this point, the increase will become even more dynamic, thanks to, in particular, the increasing popularity of hydrogen in the heavy-duty sector.
Photo: Attila Steiner’s LinkedIn profile.