Green hydrogen bus trial in Bridgend

Bus operator First Cymru runs two-week pilot of HyBont green hydrogen bus as cleaner alternative to conventional diesel. 

We’re likely to hear a lot more about ‘green hydrogen’ in future as it’s a clean, sustainable energy source that can be used as fuel, in heating and a range of industrial processes, and – unlike some other green energy sources – is easy to store.

A zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell bus in Bridgend ©2023  Marubeni, courtesy of HyBont 

A zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell bus in Bridgend ©2023  Marubeni, courtesy of HyBont

Hydrogen gas is invisible to the human eye. So-called ‘green’ hydrogen is produced through such means as the electrolysis of water using renewable energy such as solar power. It can also be produced by reforming biogas or the biochemical conversion of biomass. Whatever the case, this green hydrogen can then be used as fuel, with full life-cycle emissions close to zero.  

That, of course, has significant potential in our wider efforts to lower emissions in the transport sector. Indeed, the Welsh government aims to make all buses in Wales zero emissions by 2028. 

The HyBont bus being piloted in Bridgend runs on green hydrogen produced locally at Hyppo Hydrogen’s depot in Neath Port Talbot. Drivers have been trained in how to use the vehicles, including refuelling them at the depot. The trial is supported by Marubeni Europower. 

The bus made its debut in Bridgend as part of the Senior Open golf championship at the end of July, with a special service put on to take spectators to Royal Porthcawl gold club from Sarn Station Park and Ride and Bridgend train station.  

Since then, the bus has been servicing three routes from the First Cymru depot in Brynmenyn Industrial Estate. 

Tomoki Nishino, CEO and President of HyBont, says: ‘Hydrogen fuelled buses offer a practical solution for communities to decarbonise public transport and immediately improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions. These trials are great news for Bridgend as they could lead the way for cleaner public transport.’ 

David Thomas, Operations Manager at First Cymru, adds: ‘The bus has proved popular among both our drivers and passengers. Our colleagues have spoken about how lovely the bus is to drive with it being very responsive on hills and tackling some of the more challenging routes with ease, which is great in the Cymru landscape, and passengers love the fact it’s zero emissions and that it is so much quieter, allowing them to talk to fellow passengers without shouting.’ 

Chris Foxall, CEO of Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions, says: ‘Hydrogen buses like the one used in this trial have a huge positive benefit to people living locally. A similar trial was carried out in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot recently with very positive results and we look forward to seeing hydrogen buses rolled out across the region in the near future.’ 


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