European cities throughout Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, the Netherlands, and the UK, have signed up to the JIVE 2 project which will see over 150 hydrogen fuel-cell buses deployed on the streets.
JIVE 2 has been dubbed an “expansion of the JIVE initiative”, rather than an independent project, and will be supported by experts and the industry group, Hydrogen Europe. It will enable 14 cities to purchase and deploy 152 hydrogen fuel-cell buses, which will result in the largest deployment – almost 300 – in Europe to date.
The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) will be providing JIVE 2 with a €25 million grant to offset the expected cost of just under €106 million. The project will be governed by the EU’s Horizon 2020 framework program and should run for the next six years.
The project’s website cites strict air quality regulations, the banning of diesel buses, and a need for flexible zero-emissions alternatives, as reasons for the continuation of the initiative. In the case of Dundee, a city in the UK, two of its main streets have been consistently named as the most polluted in the country, which added pressure to the local council. Additionally, motivation to participate came from a 2013 study, commissioned by the Scottish Cities Alliance, into building a “hydrogen economy for the country” whereby transport, infrastructure, fuel production, and logistics, would be revitalised.
Dundee will continue its involvement into JIVE 2 after successfully collaborating with the city of Aberdeen, during the original project, and as an extension of its heavy investment into electric technology. Presumably, like Dundee, the 14 latest cities will benefit from additional funding. The Scottish city was supplied with money by private transportation companies, local councils, and individual governments, in order to meet the extra costs involved.
Aside from investment, JIVE 2 promises to assist the cities by “addressing a number of barriers currently preventing widespread uptake”. The project aims to reduce the cost of owning hydrogen vehicles, increase the number of models available, and establish widely accessible, low-cost, reliable sources of hydrogen fuel.
FCH JU Executive Director, Bart Biebuyck, stated that the collaborative approach will “not only address cities’ pressing environmental challenges, air quality and noise pollution; it will also allow European industry to test and further improve their products, generate high qualified employment and foster further research in this technology.”
JIVE 2 states that it plans to “prove the operational capacity of fuel cell buses and to lay the foundations for uptake on a large scale.” It is also hoped that this will accelerate the development of production within European manufacturers and, in turn, facilitate a mass roll-out of fuel cell buses across the continent. These aims will be supported by commercialisation processes and a widespread campaign.