Foton hydrogen fuel cell buses set to operate in Tasmania for net zero goal

Hydrogen City Bus Australia. Image credit: Foton Mobility

Metro Tasmania is set to conduct trials of three battery electric buses in Launceston and three hydrogen fuel cell electric buses in Hobart for up to three years, according to Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael Ferguson, with Foton Mobility as one of its suppliers. 

Minister Ferguson said in a media statement that Foton Mobility, an Australian-owned alternative-fuel heavy vehicle distributor specialising in pioneering zero-emissions transport in Australia, will provide and maintain the hydrogen fuel cell buses.

The minister added that Custom Bus Group will provide Metro with battery electric buses and associated battery chargers, as well as maintenance and operation training.

Custom Bus Group manufactures electric buses in Australia and the United Kingdom, offering a comprehensive solution to zero-emissions mobility.

“These clean energy vehicles could be the catalyst for the eventual full transformation of our public bus fleet,” Ferguson stated. 

Meanwhile, Roger Jaensch, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, stated that the Zero Emissions Bus Trial was an essential step towards meeting our aim of nett zero emissions, or lower, by 2030.

“Transport accounts for some 21 per cent of our state-wide emissions (excluding land use and forestry) so trialling clean fuel options is an opportunity to reduce Tasmania’s emissions and will provide valuable lessons in the transition to zero emissions technology,” Jaensch explained.

He said that aside from Foton and Custom, H2H Energy, an Australian-owned company that specialises in hydrogen generation, storage, and consumption, will provide and maintain the hydrogen fueling station at Metro’s Mornington facility.

Minister for Energy and Renewables, Guy Barnett, said: “Importantly, proving that the use of hydrogen in the transport sector in Tasmania is viable reinforces our goal of establishing a green hydrogen hub at Bell Bay.”

A significant partner in the bus trial, the Blue Economy CRC is anticipated to provide the green hydrogen needed to power the buses from its 700 kW electrolyser, according to Minister Barnett.

“All up we are providing $6 million for Metro to conduct the battery electric buses trial and up to $11.3 million for the hydrogen fuel cell electric bus trial and Tasmania’s first hydrogen refueller,” said Minister Barnett.