A hydrogen bus project in Charleroi approved by the Walloon government last May has been postponed due to a lack of funding, Walloon Mobility Minister Philippe Henry’s cabinet said on Thursday.
Thanks to its capacity and ease of storage, hydrogen has emerged in recent years as one of the elements that will enable the energy transition and a better integration of renewable energies in various sectors of activity, including transport.
“We are working to develop a green hydrogen sector which, like all transition technologies, requires aid,” Henry explained after being questioned in the regional parliament. Within the framework of a call for projects, the government selected two pilot projects – one in Charleroi and the other in Liège Airport, with the latter soon to be approved.
The Charleroi project, called “Waste to Wheels,” involved the installation of a hydrogen production and distribution station using electricity from the energy production unit of TiBi, the intermunicipal authority in charge of waste management in Charleroi, the ultimate aim being to supply a fleet of ten buses from the Jumet depot.
However, Henry’s cabinet judged that the overall cost was underestimated and additional public funding, going beyond what had been planned in the call for projects, was not possible. The project was therefore postponed.
“The abandonment of this project is a hard blow,” said Nicolas Janssen, a liberal deputy in the Walloon parliament. “Hydrogen is a solution for the future that we must seize by strengthening our research and development in the field.”
Hydrogen-powered electric buses can run on ‘green’ or ‘decarbonated’ hydrogen, especially when it is produced by the electrolysis of water. Compared to a diesel vehicle, they offer a zero-emission solution (neither carbon dioxide nor polluting particles).
They also have a fast recharging time (between 5 and 10 minutes) and a range of at least 300 kilometres.