The trial of  the first hydrogen bus to be put into regular service in NSW  has started with the NSW government  entering into a partnership with Sydney based bus maker ARCC, Central Coast bus operator Red Bus and Origin Energy

The trial started on the 3rd March with  the Department of Planning and Environment, hailing the trial as an important milestone in plans to transition the state’s 8000-strong public transport fleet to zero emissions technology by 2047, saying it well help evaluate how well hydrogen stacks up against  battery electric as a clean energy technology.

Local Central Coast  MP and Parliamentary secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch said  the trial will help establish the most suitable zero emissions technology for regional and rural communities.

“Red Bus has already conducted a trial using a battery electric bus so this trial will allow for a direct comparison between how electric and hydrogen perform in the same location,” he said.

The  NSW Government’s Zero Emission Buses Transition Plan aims to see the transition completed in Greater Sydney by 2035, outer metropolitan regions by 2040 and Regional NSW by 2047.

The government says it is delivering its multi-billion dollar zero emissions buses in stages so new technologies can be assessed along the way.

The first stage, is set for this year, and aims to introduce 1,200 new electric buses for Greater Sydney in the next five years, by 2028. As part of stage one, 11 existing bus depots will be upgraded to support the new fleet and a new bus depot will be built in north western Sydney.

NSW Roads and regional transport minister Sam Farraway said the new hydrogen bus is believed to be the first of its kind manufactured in NSW.

“We know this trial will be key to supporting the development of the hydrogen industry right here in NSW,” in a statement.

The trial comes as the government awarded up to $64 million for green hydrogen hub projects in the Illawarra and Moree and opens applications for $1.5 billion in concessions for large-scale green hydrogen producers.

The incentives are part of the NSW Hydrogen Strategy, which aims to attract around $80 billion in private investment by 2050.

Treasurer and energy minister Matt Kean says the funding will see the first green hydrogen produced in the Illawarra, with at least four refuelling stations to be developed in the region.

The Moree hydrogen hub project will convert green hydrogen into green ammonia used to fertilise cotton and other farms across the region.