Major Australian bus. And transport operator Transit Systems, has announced it has joined some strategicpartners to establish a hydrogen bus development program  which it has titled, the H2OzBus Project.

Transit Group, which is part of the listed SeaLink Group, says it is  leveraging its global network to continue toexplore delivery of innovative and sustainable transport solutions.

The company says it has joined forces with hydrogen fuel cell developer Ballard Power Systems, industrial gax giant BOC Limited, as well as Palisade Investment Partners and ITM Power (‘Consortium’), by signing amemorandum of understanding ‘as a further step in evaluating and demonstrating the concept of hydrogen fuel cell electric buses for use in public bus transport in Australia’.

Transit in a statement says that the Consortium will collaborate on a project to further investigate deploying aninitial [100] hydrogen fuel cell electric buses in cities across Australia in Phase 1, with the intention to use thisas a seed for more widespread roll-out.

The company pointed out that hydrogen fuel cell electric buses for public transport aligns with  ARENA’s(Australian Renewable Energy Agency) key investment priorities in accelerating hydrogen and decarbonisingIndustry.

Transit says the first phase of the project is a concept development phase that will focus on infrastructurerequirements and detailed plans for use of hydrogen fuel cell electric buses on bus routes in up to 10 centralhub locations across Australia where interest and demand for fuel cell buses has already been identified.

It is claimed that the Consortium is leveraging the strengths of each partner as they work towards agreement onfeasibility, scope and funding of the next phase of the Project.

The statement says that each partner in the Consortium will bring various expertise  and specialisation to the project  with ITM Power and BOC providing the hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure, Ballard PowerSystems supplying the fuel cell system to be integrated into electric buses supplied by supporting busmanufacturers. Transit Systems’ role in the project will be to maintain and operate the vehicles as part of theirdaily urban transit operations, and: Palisade Investment Partners will assist in funding and strategic financial oversight for the Project.

“The establishment of the H2OzBus group demonstrates our commitment to innovation and showcases thenetwork and capabilities of our globally recognised transport group,” said CEO of  the SeaLink Travel GroupClint Feuerherdt,

“It seeks to provide a “turn-key” solution to generate a “zero emission” outcome in public transport. We are proudto work alongside our Government partners and agencies, as well as industry partners to ensure that our solutions continue to set the benchmark for what is possible,” he added.

Managing director  of ITM Power Pty Ltd, Dr Neil Thompson, said  that the H2OzBus is an exciting projectwhich builds on the international partnerships that have been developed in recent years by ITM Power in the fuel cell electric bus markets across the UK and France.

“This project provides the first application in Australia of our new 2MW PEM module that has been developed asa result of the REFHYNE project in Germany with Shell and represents a significant scale-up from our sub-1MWfoundation projects for Toyota Australia and BOC Australia,” said Dr. Thompson

Vesna Olles, Director  for Strategy and Business Development for BOC  said the company is committed todeveloping a future Australian transport industry significantly powered by hydrogen.

“As part of Linde PLC, BOC will share its technical expertise to scale-up Australian hydrogen supply for theinnovative new national bus fleet,” said Olles.

“Integrating hydrogen in light transport and rolling out hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in major cities is one ofthe key priorities outlined in the Federal Government’s National Hydrogen Strategy. We look forward to workingwith all parties involved in the H2OzBus project,” the BOC executive added.

Ballard Power Systems CEO, Randy MacEwen,  says that  the formation of this new H2OzBus Project toaddress zero-emission public transit needs in Australia, will provide bus operators with an alternative electric busoption with no compromise on performance and operation.

“Use cases requiring extended range, air conditioning and rapid refuelling are an ideal fit for our fuel cell systems,which have been proven through more than 30-million kilometres of on-road experience to date,” MacEwen said.

With investment in ‘green’ initiatives rapidly accelerating across the globe,m major transport infrastructure projects H2OzBus  will be significant in changing the face of Australian passenger transport.

Roger Lloyd, managing director CEO, of Palisade Investment Partners said his company believes green hydrogen will play an important role in the further decarbonisation of the Australian economy, providing an alternate fuel source and an energy storage mechanism.

“We are an active investor in renewable energy and transportation and are delighted to work with industry leading partners and the Government on the H2OzBus project,” Lloyd concluded.