The Liverpool City Region is set to be the first place in the North of England to trial hydrogen buses following a successful £6.4 million bid to the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

The bid was put forward by a consortium led by industrial gases company BOC, and including the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Arcola Energy, working with bus-makers Alexander Dennis, and will be progressed in conjunction with Arriva and Stagecoach, as members of the city region’s Bus Alliance.

The Liverpool City Region Hydrogen Bus Project will see the creation of a new hydrogen refuelling station at the BOC plant in St Helens, which produces hydrogen for industrial customers in the region and further afield.

The project will potentially see up to 25 hydrogen–powered buses on the streets of the Liverpool City Region, emitting nothing but water from the exhaust pipe, and will contribute to the city region’s plans both to improve air quality and work towards a zero carbon economy by 2040. The first bus trial is expected to take place in 2020, subject to agreement with the Bus Alliance.

The new hydrogen refuelling station will initially deliver 500kg of hydrogen every day. Crucially, the project aims to demonstrate the commercial viability of a model that installs refuellers for high-use fleets to develop a network for future use by passenger cars and other vehicles.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“With a low-carbon economy worth more than £2 billion a year, we are already in the vanguard of the green energy revolution and the Liverpool City Region Hydrogen Bus Project is another very exciting step in that direction.

“Introducing commercially-viable hydrogen-powered buses would not only help our city region tackle poor air quality and achieve our ambition of being zero carbon by 2040 but would put us at the forefront of a technology that could be transformative for the rest of the country and beyond.”

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