In Klagenfurt, one of the first hydrogen buses was presented on Friday, which will also be used nationwide in the future. But this is still a dream of the future, within the next ten years ÖBB hopes, for example, to change its fleet of more than 2,000 buses into hydrogen buses.
Many onlookers came to the Heiligengeistplatz in Klagenfurt to take a closer look at the new bus. But the sound of the hydrogen bus is also interesting when it starts. The noise is comparable to a refrigerator, just as it is with cars that run on hydrogen.
According to Alexander Trattner, managing director of the HyCentA in Graz, a hydrogen research institute, “the technology is now ripe after years of research to be used on a large scale in traffic. Presently about 40 hydrogen-powered cars are currently on Austrian roads, many for testing purposes. At the filling station, hydrogen is refueled in three to five minutes”, says Trattner.
Tratter is clearly advocating the development of renewable energy with the aim of producing green hydrogen. “Green hydrogen is, for example, when you use renewable electricity from a wind turbine or from photovoltaic systems. Electrolysis splits water into its components hydrogen and oxygen. That is, if the upstream chain of hydrogen is renewable, we are talking about green hydrogen. The journey has to go, not just for hydrogen, but for the energy system as a whole. We need an expansion of renewable energies, “says Trattner.
The hydrogen-powered vehicles are in the market at an introduction phase, and the ÖBB also see this as a great opportunity to significantly improve their CO2 balance sheets. 130,000 tonnes of Co2 per year could be saved with hydrogen buses.
“The difference is the ranges, so the hydrogen bus has a wider range according to our previous experience. About 350 to 450 kilometers per tank filling. So you can cover very well round trips, especially in the regional bus service. The hydrogen buses are already running in other countries and cities, for example in Cologne or London, they are also used in the Netherlands or in South Korea. Austria has some catching up to do here, “says Silvia Kaupa-Götzl, Managing Director of ÖBB Postbus GmbH.
For Mobility Councilor Sebastian Schuschnig (ÖVP) it is clear, these first demonstrations with the hydrogen bus are just the beginning, towards a model region. Hydrogen mobility has great potential, especially in public transport. “All political stakeholders know that there is a great deal of catching up to do here if we really want to talk about credible climate policy,” said Schuschnig.