Hydrogen buses an Australian first for Bowen Basin

hydrogen fuelled buses

The Queensland Government has pledged $2.7 million in support to transport mine workers and students in the Bowen Basin with buses powered with renewable hydrogen. 

The environmentally conscious project will see the integration of two hydrogen fuel cell electric buses into the Emerald Coaches fleet of 120 diesel buses. 

The integration is expected to be complete by mid-2023. 

Acting Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said that the project would demonstrate the viability of including environmentally conscious practices in regional bus fleets. 

“The hydrogen fuel cell electric buses will service school routes and mine sites, and will be capable of travelling hundreds of kilometres a day on a single tank of hydrogen,” Miles said.  

Emerald Coaches director Michael Baulch expressed his pride in the company being the first private bus operator in Australia to commit to zero carbon emissions by 2040. 

“We’ve made a commitment that every new bus in South East Queensland would be zero-emission from 2025, and that commitment expands to our regions between 2025 and 2030,” Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said. 

The new buses will refuel at the company’s Emerald depot, with refuelling time mirroring current diesel refuelling time to maintain operational flexibility.  

The support for the new buses comes from round two of the $35 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund (HIDF).  

Round two of the HIDF will also see over $20 million allocated to renewable hydrogen technology projects, leading to the support of hundreds of highly skilled jobs. 

“The addition of Emerald builds on the tri-state MoU with New South Wales and Victoria and delivers on our commitment to innovation, economic growth and more highly skilled jobs for Queenslanders,” Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said. 

Fuelled by hydrogen produced from local sunshine and water, the buses will build on the Queensland Government’s recently released Zero Emissions Vehicle strategy. 

The HDIF will continue to support projects focussing on domestic uses of renewable energy across Queensland. 

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