Wrightbus owner Jo Bamford says his vision is for 3,000 hydrogen buses – about 10 per cent of the UK’s total fleet – could be running in UK towns and cities by 2024. The vehicles would save an estimated 280,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent of taking roughly 107,000 cars off the road a year.
Bamford, who also owns hydrogen production company Ryse, argues: “the hydrogen used to power these vehicles will be completely green”. Ryse is in the process of building the UK’s first hydrogen production plant on the Kent coast which will be powered by an offshore wind farm and use electrolysis to produce hydrogen from water. Bamford plans to build another four hydrogen production plants by 2025 to provide enough power for all 3,000 buses.
“We have an opportunity with hydrogen powered transport to make a huge difference to air quality, and for UK jobs as well,” says Bamford. “With increased orders on this scale I could increase the workforce at Wrightbus by nearly 700 per cent.
“UK-made hydrogen buses are ready to hit the streets today. We already have hydrogen buses in London, and 20 of Wrightbus’ world-leading double deckers will be added to this later this year. We also have orders from Aberdeen, with many other areas becoming interested in our technology – in the UK and across the world”.
Bamford is calling on the government to set aside £500million – 10 per cent of the National Bus Strategy fund – to support the UK’s hydrogen industry.