Hydrogen buses for Perth?

HYDROGEN powered buses may be on Perth streets in the near future.

Transport Minister Murray Criddle is visiting Germany for a briefing on the virtually emission-free fuel cell being trialled in buses there and in Canada.

The fuel cells use hydrogen that is converted to electricity in a chemical reaction involving oxygen.

The only emission from the cell is water vapour.

Mr Criddle said there was a total bus fleet replacement program underway in Perth using low-emission, low-sulphur diesel powered buses.

“We will be trialling some compressed natural gas buses in the first batch of replacements but we are keen to be fully appraised on the development of alternative power sources such as the fuel cell,” he said.

The fuel cell technology is being financially backed by some of the world’s biggest vehicle manufacturers including Daimler-Chrysler and Ford.

The fuel cell manufacturers want to bring fleet buses into commercial production ahead of cars because trials are well advanced and buses have the design advantage of allowing a centralised hydrogen fuel system.

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