Brussels, 06 May 2003
The first operational hydrogen fuel cell bus delivered as part of the clean urban transport for Europe (CUTE) project was unveiled in Madrid on 5 May.
The 52 million euro CUTE project, supported by 18.5 million euro in EU funding, aims to demonstrate an effective and emission-free public transportation system, as well as the accompanying hydrogen fuel infrastructure.
At a special ceremony held to mark the occasion, Commission Vice-President with responsibility for Transport and Energy, Loyola de Palacio, said: 'The CUTE project is one of the most innovating projects in transport, and is observed worldwide with great interest.'
After Madrid, buses will also appear in London, Porto, Luxembourg, Hamburg, Barcelona, Stuttgart, Stockholm and Amsterdam. Each city will operate three buses, and develop facilities for producing hydrogen and refuelling the vehicles.
By involving such geographically diverse locations in the project, organisers hope to learn from the diverse range of conditions under which the buses will be operating. This in turn should lead to a more effective exchange of experiences, which will prove useful when considering future implementations.
The project has already attracted attention within Europe and from other countries such as Japan and the US, with many recognising the potential contribution to environmental protection that emission-free public transport could have.
However, the development of vehicles able to run on hydrogen is only one part in the process of introducing a viable and environmentally friendly 'hydrogen economy', a point not lost on Ms Palacio.
'The bus is the most visible part of the project, in particular for European citizens, but our efforts concentrate on all applications of the hydrogen economy, in particular the production and supply infrastructure of hydrogen,' she explained.
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