ComfortDelGro expands hydrogen fuel cell bus trial to Australia

ComfortDelGro Australia will ply two fuel cell buses in Geelong, a city south-west of Melbourne. PHOTO: COMFORTDELGRO

SINGAPORE - Transport giant ComfortDelGro Corp will run hydrogen fuel cell buses in Australia from late 2023, following a similar initiative rolled out in London last year.

In an announcement released on Tuesday morning (March 1), the group said its subsidiary, ComfortDelGro Australia, will ply two fuel cell buses in Geelong, a city south-west of Melbourne.

A hydrogen fuel cell bus runs on motors that are powered by electricity produced through a chemical process using stored hydrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere. Like all electric vehicles, it is emission-free at the point of use. They are deemed to be more operationally viable as they require mere minutes to refuel compared with hours for conventional battery-powered electric buses.

ComfortDelGro Australia is a partner in the Geelong New Energies Service Station project, a multimillion-dollar hydrogen mobility development led by Viva Energy.

The parties have worked with the Australian government to launch what promises to be Australia's most ambitious green hydrogen mobility project, ComfortDelGro said.

The New Energies Service Station project, which received a A$22.8 million (S$22.4 million) government grant, will see the establishment of a refuelling station in Geelong in late 2023. It will be Australia's first publicly accessible commercial-scale hydrogen refuelling station.

The two fuel cell buses are scheduled to ply when the station is up. They will be manufactured by an Australian-based manufacturer, Aluminium Revolutionary Chassis.

ComfortDelGro Australia chief executive Nicholas Yap said: "We see strong potential for hydrogen and, importantly, an ecosystem of Australian-based providers driving collectively towards a cleaner future for Australians."

ComfortDelGro's British subsidiary Metroline already operates 97 fully electric buses in London. In June last year, it started rolling out 20 double-deck hydrogen fuel cell buses in the British capital.

The group also runs close to 1,000 electric taxis in China, where it has operations in nine cities. In Singapore, it aims to put "up to 400" electric taxis on the road by year end.

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