The Queensland government is to provide $2.7 million to local passenger transport company Emerald Coaches to integrate two hydrogen fuel cell electric buses into the company’s existing fleet by mid-2023.
Acting premier and minister for state development Steven Miles announced on Wednesday that the Palaszczuk Government would support Emerald Coaches with a $2.7 million grant from round two of the $35 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund (HIDF).
Emerald Coaches currently operates 120 diesel buses, and the two hydrogen fuel cell electric buses are expected to enter service in mid-2023 and will transport mine workers and students in the Bowen Basin through the west-central region of Queensland.
The project will demonstrate the larger role of renewable energy, and hydrogen energy in particular, for public transport across Queensland, including longer-distance travel – a necessity through much of Queensland.
“This project will demonstrate the commercial viability of transitioning a regional bus fleet to new technology renewable hydrogen,” said minister for state development Steven Miles.
“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.”
“Refuelling will take place at the company’s Emerald depot and will mirror current diesel refuelling time, maintaining operational flexibility.”
The $2.7 million grant will come from round two of the $35 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund (HIDF).
“Emerald Coaches is the first private bus operator in Australia to commit to zero carbon emissions by 2040,” said Emerald Coaches Director Michael Baulch. “We want to lead the transition to zero emissions while providing education and training in this exciting emerging industry.”
“This HIDF grant means we’re now on the way to establishing a hydrogen bus fleet that can operate throughout the Central Highlands and Mackay regions, fuelled by hydrogen produced from local sunshine and water.”
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.