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Transportation & Fuel Source Technology

London Mayor Announces Europe's Largest Fleet of Hydrogen Buses

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today announced that ten new hydrogen powered buses will join London's bus fleet by 2010. When operational on London's streets, the hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles will produce no pollution or carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming, and will help improve the capital's air quality.

Transport for London has signed a contract with ISE - an American company with a record of delivering hydrogen buses - for five hydrogen fuel cell buses and five hydrogen internal combustion engine buses. This is one of the world's first commercial contracts for hydrogen buses. The vehicles will be operated by First on behalf of Transport for London.

In February 2006, the Mayor announced the London Hydrogen Transport programme, which aims to introduce 70 new hydrogen vehicles into London - ten of these vehicles will be buses. Transport is responsible for 22 per cent of London's emissions, and the Mayor's Climate Change Action plan sets a target for annual reductions. Hydrogen vehicles are clean and efficient, and it is expected that the ten hydrogen hybrid buses will produce substantially fewer emissions of CO2 and other harmful air pollutants than a conventional diesel bus.

Ken Livingstone, said: "Hydrogen is a fuel of the future as it improves air quality and does not produce the harmful emissions which are causing catastrophic climate change. These ten new hydrogen vehicles will be clean and efficient, providing a smoother, quieter ride for passengers.

"London is now the first city in Europe to commit to a hydrogen bus fleet of this size, which will match traditional diesel buses in terms of performance. This represents a huge step forward from the previous hydrogen trials in the capital and is an important step towards my target of having five per cent of all public sector fleet vehicles powered by hydrogen by 2015."

The contract signed with ISE is for £9.65 million. This covers not only the initial cost of the vehicles themselves but also the specialist maintenance and replacement parts over a five year period after delivery. The Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform has provided a grant of £2.6 million towards Transport for London's hydrogen bus programme.

Malcolm Wicks, Minister of State for Energy: "This is a very exciting development and a serious step towards the long-term aim of reducing emissions from road transport. The Government has backed the Mayor's scheme with £2.6m as part of a wider package of support for UK hydrogen and fuel cell projects. This again underlines our commitment to do what we can to tackle climate change."

Mike Weston, Operations Director for London Buses, said: "The Mayor and Transport for London are committed to tackling climate change through cutting London's contribution to CO2 and other emissions. Hydrogen technology is still being developed and we are paying a premium for these early models. However, we firmly believe this is a worthwhile investment in developing clean, green technology, and we expect costs to reduce over time."

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