Feasibility study on fuel cell buses

VRR – the largest metropolitan urban transport area in Europe

On behalf of VRR, agiplan and three other consulting firms came together to design a feasibility study on fuel cell buses.


Study contents at a glance

  • Status and development of vehicle and fuel cell technology
  • Hydrogen production and supply
  • Refuelling infrastructure
  • Impact on everyday operations of transport companies
  • Scenarios and business models

The Rhine-Ruhr transport association (VRR) is a mobility service provider for around 8 million people in the Ruhr area and the Lower Rhine. Buses travel more than 190 million kilometres each year on over 900 routes, which gives rise to the question of bus energy efficiency.

In 2012, four consulting companies, including agiplan, were therefore commissioned with designing a feasibility study on fuel cell buses for the logistics and mobility industry. Hereby, the economic attractiveness of technology in public transport was evaluated.

Study focus: the status and development of vehicle and fuel cell technologies, hydrogen production and supply, refuelling infrastructure, the impact on everyday use and the development of scenarios and business models.

Experience-based project with fuel cell buses from 2016

Together with the consulting firms SCI Verkehr, FCBAT Ulm and PE International, agiplan investigated how and when the use of hydrogen-powered buses could be implemented in VRR's regular service.

The experts came to the joint conclusion that today's use is not economical. They do, however recommend a test run from 2016. From 2025, the costs of the fuel cell technology are expected to be in line with those of diesel operation. The expert team recommends that 10 buses and 2 petrol stations are incorporated in the regular service for the purposes of the test run.

Dr. Frank Köster, senior consultant at agiplan: "The Rhine-Ruhr conurbation is predestined for a comprehensive examination of a new vehicle technology, especially with a view to deploying fuel cell buses."