In December 2001, the European Commission awarded €18.5 million to nine European cities (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Porto, Stockholm, Stuttgart) to introduce hydrogen and fuel-cell buses into their public transport system. The initiative is part of the CUTE (Clean Urban Transport for Europe) demonstration project funded under the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Development.
Hydrogen is an efficient and environment-friendly power source, which the Commission is committed to promote as part of its plan to foster the use of alternative fuels in transport. This fuel-cell bus project will be the first volume-production test of this scale conducted worldwide. The Energy and Transport Directorate-General of the European Commission has committed one of the largest funds ever to this demonstration project. The buses will be delivered to the cities during the year 2003.
The performance of the bus is comparable to conventional diesel-driven buses and each can accommodate up to 70 passengers. Each of the bus operators will build a filling station for gaseous hydrogen. Fuel producers are partners in the creation of the hydrogen infrastructure, some of whom will subsequently operate the filling stations so as to gain experience with alternative fuels themselves. Hydrogen will be produced through different methods in order to provide data for an efficiency comparison.
The buses operation within the CUTE project finished in December 2005. Over the two years, the 27 buses travelled almost 865000km in the 9 cities.