Zuid-Holland chooses hydrogen

The Province of Zuid-Holland is taking a fundamental step in the greening of the transport by bus. Before the end of this year, the first 4 buses on hydrogen as fuel will be driving in Hoekse Waard en Goeree-Overflakkee. A market exploration for the purchase of an additional 20 hydrogen buses has been completed and the negotiations with mobility company Connexxion are ongoing. The use of hydrogen fits the provincial ambition to replace fossil fuels in the economy by sustainable alternatives.

The news was announced during a conference in the New Luxor in Rotterdam, where European top managers considered the future of hydrogen in the traffic system. Besides its own investment, Zuid-Holland is receiving a subsidy from the European Union for the project, in the framework of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking programme and can count on a contribution from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. If the experiences are positive, hydrogen buses will be introduced in more places in Zuid-Holland to arrange the public transport. The conference concluded that the market is ready to commence a large-scale introduction of hydrogen throughout the European Union.

New buses in 2025 emission-free

The provinces are important concession providers for the public transport in The Netherlands. The 12 provinces and the central government have agreed that new public transport buses will not emit any harmful gases from 2025 onwards.  By 2030, all buses are to be emission-free. Hydrogen is pre-eminently fit for buses that drive long distances. Electric driving is a good solution for shorter distances, while in this transition phase, many hybrid buses have been deployed in, for instance, the urban public transport.

Crucial link in energy transition

Using hydrogen buses fits Zuid-Holland's broader ambition to stimulate the green hydrogen economy. Floor Vermeulen, Regional Minister of the Province of Zuid-Holland, explains: “We have truly committed ourselves to the change-over to clean mobility. Hydrogen plays an important role in the greening process of all traffic and transport. These buses are the initial step in the development of a hydrogen infrastructure in the province.” The Province's initiative is not an isolated one. Commercial parties will open hydrogen pump stations in the coming years, in among other places in The Hague and Amsterdam. The use of hydrogen also has a very good chance of succeeding in the goods transport by water.

Green hydrogen

Mark Frequin, Director-General Accessibility at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, calls for a pooling of resources in the elaboration of the Climate Agreement: “The change-over to a green hydrogen economy requires a broad public-private partnership. What we are learning now from the broad deployment of hydrogen buses in Zuid-Holland, can be applied elsewhere and in other sectors.” Zuid-Holland intends to use locally-produced green hydrogen. Whenever the energy needed to produce hydrogen is 100% green, for instance, solar or wind energy, the hydrogen may be called green hydrogen. The Province will start the tendering process for the supply of hydrogen and hydrogen buses in the near future.