Juan Abel Arias, Corporate Maintenance Director of Avanza, talks about the pros and cons they observe in the application of green hydrogen in mobility.
In an exclusive interview with Mobility Portal, the professional shares the results of the pilot test of the hydrogen bus that the transportation operator has in Madrid.
“In terms of performance and range, it is meeting our expectations and even surpassing them,” declares Arias.
The bus has been operating in the Spanish capital for just over a month.
It covers Line 2, which connects the Barrio de la Estación with the Coslada Transport Center, and it is estimated that it will travel approximately 75,000 kilometers in a year.
Arias expresses that they are still uncertain about the maximum range the vehicle can achieve.
Currently, the unit is covering around 200 kilometers, but they hope it can reach between 350 and 400 kilometers.
“During the time we have had the vehicle in service, the performance has been very good,” expresses the Director.
This is the first time Avanza has worked with the Portuguese bus provider Caetano Bus.
The model they are using is the H2.CityGold, which offers a nominal power of 180kW.
The Avanza representative explains that the project is still in the initial implementation phase.
The main objective of the project, which is the local production of green hydrogen, cannot yet be achieved due to permit delays.
In the meantime, the hydrogen is purchased and supplied to the company as a refueling station.
“For us, hydrogen is one of the key energies in the medium and long term,” points out Arias.
Currently, all hydrogen buses and vehicles being implemented are for urban use, falling under Class 1.
However, Avanza plans to extend the use of this fuel to interurban long-distance lines as well as urban lines.
“We have high hopes for hydrogen in the long run,” concludes the professional.
Avanza also faces some challenges
Avanza has been analyzing less polluting technologies for their buses for the past four years, including electric and hydrogen fleets.
Within this context, an opportunity arose to introduce a vehicle into the lines of the Regional Transport Consortium of Madrid.
Considering these trials, Arias believes that two issues need to evolve.
Firstly, he emphasizes the company’s expectation for the availability of Class 2 and Class 3 vehicles, specifically hydrogen-powered intercity buses.
Secondly, he points out the costs associated with the technology.
“We are a little concerned about the evolution of hydrogen prices,” he expresses.
He explains that a few years ago, there was a trend of decreasing prices.
However, currently, hydrogen manufacturers and suppliers claim that the increase in electricity prices will lead to an increase in the price of hydrogen as well.
Currently, green hydrogen can cost up to 20 euros per kilogram.
It is important to consider that a fuel cell vehicle can hold between 35 and 37 kilograms of hydrogen and has a consumption rate of nearly 10 kilograms per every 100 kilometers.
“We believe that the cost still needs to decrease significantly in order to be competitive,” laments the Director.
Despite the uncertainties, Avanza does not rule out the possibility of adding a second bus with similar characteristics to their fleet.
While Arias believes that they have many suitable locations, he mentions three in particular.
“Madrid, Barcelona, or Malaga could serve perfectly as a testing ground for this technology in intercity fleets,” he declares.