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March 2007
Amsterdam uses hydrogen technology in boats and buses 

“Fuel-cell buses are the future,” says Amsterdam Alderwoman Carolien Gehrels. “That’s why our innovative municipal transport company invested in them. We were one of the first in Europe. These buses are innovative and sustainable and that fits in with our aim of making Amsterdam a sustainable city.”

In Amsterdam, a number of boats and buses have been running on hydrogen for some time. These vehicles release absolutely no emissions of harmful substances such as CO2. The trials are being carried out on a small scale but can expect support from government and business.

The municipal transport company has been running three fuel-cell buses for three years now, without any harmful emissions occurring, as part of its regular service. By using light materials to build the buses and enabling the storage of braking energy they have created the ideal bus: no harmful exhaust gases, little noise and very low fuel consumption. The trial of the municipal transport company’s hydrogen bus is being extended by a year and will continue until January 2008.

A consortium of Dutch companies has also agreed to develop and build a hydrogen-fuelled boat. In addition to the boat, the consortium will also site a filling station in the Amsterdam-Noord city borough on the IJ river. This consortium consists of five companies: Alewijnse, Integral, Linde Gas, Marine Service Noord and Rederij Lovers. To develop the first boat plus the filling station, they obtained a subsidy from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The City of Amsterdam has also contributed to the start-up costs.

It is possible that the boat will be cruising through the canals of Amsterdam later this year. During the rush hours in the morning and afternoon, the boat will transport Shell employees from the Central Station in Amsterdam to the company, which is situated on the other side of the IJ. “The purchase price of the ‘green’ water bus is higher than that of a normal water bus,” says Hauke Sie of Fuel Cell Boat, “but the final price will not be double that of an ordinary boat. It is also possible to operate such a boat on competitive terms with a traditional diesel-powered boat.''

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