For the first time in France, hydrogen conquers public transport. Fuelled by hydrogen from renewable sources, eight buses from the Bus Rapid Transit service line (BHNS) will be operating on the streets of Pau within two years, as part of a contract between SMTU-PPP, Engie, Van Hool and ITM Power.
The buses will form an artery of the new transportation network designed by the City within its urban redevelopment project aimed at improving the perception and use of public spaces in a sustainable way.
Seiya Consulting assisted the conurbation of Pau and its public transportation syndicate in the procurement process to select the best solution. Additionally, Seiya Consulting produced the communication material for the announcement, writing an in-depth presentation of the project, including a comprehensive explanation of the hydrogen energy benefits and technologies. Seiya also produced several educational leaflets targeted to the public, citizens, city staff and future users of the bus line.
Hydrogen buses have solid advantages: long driving range (350 km) and rapid recharging (10 minutes). These provide them, amid the various zero-emission bus technology options, with the highest level of operational flexibility and productivity for a bus operator.
The other characteristics of the BHNS buses principally comprise a high-end experience for the traveler (comfort, safety, availability, information), high frequency with short waiting time and a predominantly dedicated bus lane. The BHNS is an effective alternative to the introduction of a rail mode transport, such as the tramway.
The bus will be designed and manufactured by Van Hool, the European manufacturer with the most expertise in hydrogen mobility with more than 50 fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) hydrogen buses already in operation. As a leader and innovator, Van Hool is developing, from its electric platform, an articulated 18-meter fuel cell bus model for the needs of this BRT(BHNS) line.
Engie, via its GNVERT subsidiary, responsible for the distribution of alternative fuels, will take charge of the construction and operation of the hydrogen refuelling station for these buses. The hydrogen will be produced on site by an ITM Power PEM electrolyser powered by local renewable electricity, thus ensuring completely decarbonised energy for propulsion.