Since 2011, Cologne’s RVK public transport authority has been driving with hydrogen – and now the largest fuel cell bus fleet in Europe is being put into operation there. Representatives from Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK), the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI – Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur), the EU Commission and the Rhein-Sieg District, officially presented the multifaceted project at the Meckenheim site on 21 August, 2020.
Now, in cooperation with various industrial partners, filling stations in Meckenheim (Framatome consortium) and in Wermelskirchen (Linde GmbH) will go into operation in 2020 along with a total of 35 A330 FC buses (Van Hool) for the RVK bus fleet.
The first ten fuel cell hybrid buses will soon be put into regular service in Meckenheim following the completion of the necessary driver training and after the filling station has entered into operation. In the current expansion stage, the new filling station will enable 20 FC buses to be refuelled daily in two cycles of 10 vehicles each. The remaining 25 buses will be used at the RVK locations in Wermelskirchen and Bergisch Gladbach in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district and in the city of Hürth.
Funding makes the project a reality
RVK (Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH) is receiving funding support for the procurement of the fuel cell hybrid buses from the FCH JU (Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) as part of the EU-funded JIVE project, as well as co-funding from the BMVI as part of the National Innovation Program Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP 2). The associated expansion of the infrastructure is also being supported by funds from the NIP 2 program and by INEA (Wermelskirchen only) as part of the EU project MEHRLIN.
The project was supported with 14 million euros in funding from the NIP 2 programme alone. The EU is also contributing a total of around 7 million euros to RVK for the procurement of the 35 fuel cell hybrid buses to be delivered in 2020 and the hydrogen tanking system in Wermelskirchen.
By the end of 2021, RVK will integrate a further 15 fuel cell hybrid buses into its bus fleet at the corresponding locations in the Rhein-Sieg district, the Rheinisch-Bergisch district and in Hürth as part of the funded projects. These buses will also be purchased as part of the EU project JIVE 2, and will receive funding from the “Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking” (FCH JU), the NIP 2 programme and the NRW Ministry of Transport. RVK will then have a combined total of 50 fuel cell hybrid buses.