STIB’s hydrogen-powered bus will launch in September

Credit: Stib

Brussels will receive its first hydrogen-powered public transport from the start of September when the first hydrogen bus from STIB officially hits the roads of the Belgian capital.

Presented on Monday, the bus has already undergone several tests in recent weeks and is ready to be put into service as part of a wider push for renewables by the regional transport operator.

“STIB is committed to making its fleet ever more environmentally friendly, in line with the ambition of the Brussels-Capital Region. With this in mind, we have been studying hydrogen technology as an alternative drive system for our buses for several months now,” explained STIB CEO Brieuc de Meeûs on the launch.

The hydrogen bus was rented to the company by Belgian firm Van Hool at the beginning of July, after which it was put through tests as staff received training on the new vehicle.

“STIB’s fleet is undergoing a major transformation,” Brussels Minister for Mobility and Public Works Elke Van added. “In addition to the investment in 37 new electric buses that are currently running on the network and the adaptation of depots for their recharging, STIB is now launching a hydrogen bus in order to always be at the forefront of less polluting technologies,” she added.

The bus will continue to be put through several tests for the next 2 years as STIB determines how best to use the service. How the bus handles different traffic conditions with different gradients and loads will all be measured.

“The test that is about to start will allow us to learn more, both about the vehicle itself and about its supply and daily management,” de Meeûs added. “In this way, we will be able to determine whether hydrogen can be an option for the buses of tomorrow.”

With 300 to 500 km for 40 kg of hydrogen on board, the new bus offers double the range of electric buses, while filling the hydrogen tank can be done in minutes.

The busses will initially run on hydrogen supplies from a site in Zaventem, with a mobile station supplied by Eoly-Energy planned for the Marly depot at the start of 2022.

The future of a fully hydrogen-powered fleet will be limited by access to hydrogen, according to STIB, which only wants to use hydrogen produced using renewable electricity.