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WA's hydrogen fuel cell buses scoop another environmental award

4/10/05

The Gallop Government's hydrogen fuel cell bus trial has scooped yet another top environmental award.

In Adelaide today, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan accepted the annual Greenfleet Trophy - a national award recognising outstanding commitment to creating a sustainable future.

The Gallop Government is investing more than $8million in the hydrogen fuel cell project, including the purchase of three state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel cell buses for its public transport fleet.

Since last year, the three buses have been quietly transporting passengers across the metropolitan area - producing no greenhouse gases or smog-creating emissions.

"Today's award recognises our commitment to reducing fossil fuel dependence by exploring new clean, green transport energy alternatives," Ms MacTiernan said.

"Our investment in the hydrogen fuel cell trial and ongoing expansion of our public transport network is aimed at delivering a cleaner, more liveable city and protecting our unique lifestyle.

"Against the backdrop of rising petrol prices, reducing fossil fuel dependence is also good for people's hip pockets."

Other cities participating in the international trial include Stuttgart, Hamburg, Luxembourg, Stockholm, London, Porto, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Reykjavik and Madrid.

The DaimlerChrysler Citaro buses used for the trial run on hydrogen gas - the hydrogen is converted to electricity using Ballard fuel cell engines.

Fuel cells create continuous power as hydrogen is passed through a membrane in a carbon 'sandwich' and mixes with oxygen. The result is electricity, which is used to power an electric motor. The only emission through the tailpipe is water vapour.

The hydrogen is currently extracted from crude oil, sourced from project partner BP's Kwinana refinery - although experiments are proceeding to produce it via renewable energy sources.

The performance of the buses will be independently assessed by Murdoch University.

Earlier this year, the project won the prestigious 2005 Banksia Environmental Award, as well as the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Outstanding Achievement Award in 2004.

Greenfleet is a national non-profit organisation committed to reducing the environmental impact of transport in Australia.

Ms MacTiernan accepted the award at Greenfleet's two-day Emerging Transport Technology Conference.

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