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Australians should prepare for the emergence of hydrogen-powered buses and trains as well as electrified public transport as goverments cut carbon emissions, says French transport operator Keolis.
Vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells - which combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity - only produce water, making them an attractive option for countries as they look for ways of reducing greenhouse gases.
While hydrogen technology remains expensive and will take time to introduce, it is a good way to store electricity because the cells do not require heavy batteries, said Bernard Tabary, Keolis's international director.
"We are seeing the first hydrogen trains coming up, there are eight running in Germany already and France has just ordered 15," Mr Tabary told AFR Weekend.
Keolis is supporting a new network of hydrogen-powered buses in the French city of Pau.
Keolis, which is 70 per cent owned by France's state rail group SNCF and 30 per cent owned by Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, is providing technical support to a network of eight hydrogen buses and a hydrogen refuelling station in the south-western French city of Pau.
The UK operates hydrogen buses and ferries, with Australia's Transit Systems operating a fleet of 10 hydrogen buses for Transport for London.
Reducing the transport sector's carbon emissions by encouraging greater deployment of zero-emission vehicles like hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) would help Australia meet its international commitments on climate change, the Council of Australian Governments' energy group said in an issues paper released in July as it prepares a national hydrogen strategy.
This article first appeared on www.afr.com
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