Wrightbus boss in push for £500m hydrogen subsidy

Posted: April 27, 2020 by oldbrew in Emissions, government, hydrogen, ideology, Subsidies, Taxpayer, Travel

Hydrogen-powered London bus

Fare-paying travellers can rejoice in subsidising the buses and the means of producing the fuel for them, i.e. the wind turbines, under this plan. Maybe do the same for trains too.

The owner of manufacturer Wrightbus has said he hopes to bring another 1,500 jobs to Ballymena as he pushes for a Government subsidy to fund the building of more than 3,000 buses in the town, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

Jo Bamford, executive chairman of the historic bus-builder, said the use of hydrogen could usher in a new era of environmentally-friendly transport.

It’s seeking subsidy funding of £500m from the UK Government, with the aim of building over 3,000 hydrogen-fuelled buses in Ballymena by 2024.

But he said expensive infrastructure located close to windfarms – which would account for £200m of the £500m – is needed to make the mass production of hydrogen a reality.

The company now employs around 550 people in Ballymena, following Mr Bamford’s purchase of the firm after its administration last year. However, Mr Bamford told the Belfast Telegraph that 450 had been furloughed, though about 100 engineers are still in employment.

“We’d like to get an agreement on it as quickly as possible then build the infrastructure, and roll it out over a number of years.

“Say you have 12,000 buses on the island – my plan is to decarbonise all buses and all trains, though to fill them up with hydrogen, you need to put money down to build infrastructure.”

Mr Bamford is the son of Lord Bamford, the chairman of machinery giant, JCB.

Continued here.

  1. peterandnen says:

    Aberdeen’s first H2 buses lasted just 5 years. Biggest fleet in Europe apparently. “Say you have 12,000 buses on the island” lasting 5 years at £0.5m each. God save the Planet!

  2. oldbrew says:

    The Aberdeen single deckers used to break down a lot according to one of the drivers in a TV interview recently.

    World-first hydrogen double deckers to be in Aberdeen within weeks

    The world’s first hydrogen-powered double decker buses are to be working in Aberdeen in the Summer, it was revealed today.

    First Aberdeen, part of the multinational company First Group which originated in the city, is to run the 15 buses along one of its most popular service routes and the new vehicles will further underline the city’s role as a pioneer in hydrogen.

    The hydrogen double deckers will be arriving in the city in the Spring and will be spotted around the city for several weeks during a period of final testing along with training for drivers. It is expected the hydrogen double deckers will be in service in the Summer.

    The new £8.3million project has been funded by Aberdeen City Council, the Scottish Government, and the European Union (FCH JU), with an investment of about £500,000 per vehicle.
    . . .
    The buses have been produced by a UK-based company – Wrightbus based in Northern Ireland – and will complement the existing fleet that the city already boasts including a range of hydrogen and electric vans and cars through a car share scheme.

    [bold added]
    – – –
    an investment of about £500,000 per vehicle

    That’s a new definition of ‘investment’. Where’s the *return* on the investment supposed to come from?

    No more EU grants anyway.

  3. David Coe says:

    In order to store hydrogen in a tank of equivalent size to a diesel fuel tank it would need to be raised to a pressure of 40,000 psi to achieve the same stored calorific energy. To put this in perspective, that is some 20 times the pressure of the steam driving power generation turbines, 13 times the pressure of high pressure gas cylinders and some 3 times the pressure experienced at the deepest trenches of the world’s oceans. If that is not a safety issue, I don’t know what is.

  4. JB says:

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities….” –Voltaire

    There’s a parallel behavior in there: “Those who can make you [finance] absurdities can make you commit [economic] atrocities….”

    There’s a word for government “investment” in business/manufacturing. The profits don’t go to the enterprise owner/operator, because there aren’t any.

  5. pochas94 says:

    I am completely against subsidies. They pave the road to disaster.

  6. Gamecock says:

    “Hi. I’m from the government and I’m here to usher in a new era of environmentally-friendly transport.”

  7. Stuart Brown says:

    While admitting to knowing zip about busses, there’s these:

    A low-emission bus that operators appear to actually want to buy…

    If most hydrogen is currently produced from methane anyway, why not just burn the methane in the bus? Unless, of course, you can persuade someone to give you a bus-ful of cash to do something else.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Interesting, Stuart. Note the last line of the link:
    The mild hybrid concept is gaining popularity all over Europe (particularly in Italy).

    Sounds like a good option for cars and there are some now, but a lot of governments are obsessed with expensive battery EVs despite charging obstacles and other drawbacks.

  9. spetzer86 says:

    “Wrightbus”, huh? I suppose Hindenburg was already taken…

  10. Who needs hydrogen? It seems emissions in Bristol have declined since lockdown unless I’ve got it wrong.

  11. Mack says:

    Forgive me, but can anyone remind me how hydrogen for vehicular use is created? Does it just fall out of the sky like all of that feel good ‘free’ wind and sunshine that will energise the planet in the future, not, or does some evil denier have to use huge amounts of fossil fuels to convert it from its’ source to a viable propulsion material, the entire process seeming to negate the alleged environmental benefits of converting to hydrogen in the first place?

  12. oldbrew says:

    Mack – the report says:
    But he said expensive infrastructure located close to windfarms – which would account for £200m of the £500m – is needed to make the mass production of hydrogen a reality.

    But £200m to keep 3,000 buses fuelled sounds like fantasy.

  13. Saighdear says:

    I’m thinking of the size of the Corned Beef tin ….. I don’t think the Aberdeen Council have remembered any learnt lessons Gaudie

  14. Stretcred says:

    LOL, BMW gave up hydrogen testing a few years back and now Mercedes Benz has also announced that it is stopping its hydrogen program.

  15. oldbrew says:

    As long as the climate non-problem illusion is kept alive, expensive non-solutions will be relentlessly promoted.

  16. pochas94 says:

    They should really just provide some hydrogen fueling stations and see who bites. No need to hook the taxpayer for somebody’s “get rich” eco-fantasy.

  17. Stuart Brown says:

    Pochas94 – they exist:

    But reading this, I wouldn’t bite even if I lived close to one! (lower range than a diesel, fuel twice the price, car costs twice as much and there’s currently only one model to buy). The only ways this can be made to work are for the government (ie the taxpayer) to subsidise it, or to make petrol/diesel so expensive by taxation that it starts to look attractive by comparison. Even then a BEV probably looks better.

  18. pochas94 says:

    Hydrogen cars are not for everyone.

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