The beautiful city of Cologne renowned for its High Gothic architectural cathedral was the next stop on the journey.
It is also known for its important chemical industry. Who would have imagined that a by-product from this industry could power a vehicle.
This chemical industry uses a lot of energy and produces some considerable by-products that traditionally have not always been used in an efficient manner. One of these by-products is what interests us, hydrogen, a by-product of the industrial production of chlorine and enough of it to power 1000 buses per day.
The clever people within HyCologne, an organisation of 28 public and private partners, saw this by-product as an opportunity. It led to the construction of a hydrogen fuel station right next to a plant and the subsequent ramp up of a fleet of hydrogen powered buses for the Cologne region. One of the key benefits of this initiative is the reduction in local pollution of particulate matter associated with transport. They (the RVK – Regionalverkehr Köln (in German) – local transport company) currently have 2 Fuel Cell buses and wish to extend their fleet by 30 more, by 2019 and transform their entire fleet of 300 vehicles to hydrogen by 2030.
Toyota is also promoting hydrogen buses in Japan and expects to have over 100 in operation mainly in the Tokyo area in the run up to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Whether it’s individual or collective transportation, hydrogen has the answer.