Hydrogen powered e-Bike fleet hits Groningen, but will it last?

Groningen in the Netherlands has made available a small hydrogen powered e-bike fleet to the various departments of its municipality as part of a trial to reduce the emissions output of its transport.

Utilising 100% ‘Green hydrogen’ with origins stemming from a nearby solar power plant, the e-bike trial sits alongside a broader hydrogen vehicle fleet that includes refuse trucks, vans and some passenger cars.

Local news reports that Gerrit Griffioen, head of the Central Workshop of the Municipality of Groningen has held an ambition to try the bike for a few years, but was holding out to the point where the hydrogen could be supplied locally. The Holthausen gas station in Groningen is now able to do so.

The Hydrogen e-bike concept has been around for a few years, with electric cargo bike firm EAV the latest to deliver on a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle. It is however up for discussion just how viable the technology is for smaller vehicles in particular with many experts suggesting the technology is far more likely to succeed in sectors like shipping, off-road vehicles and long-haul aviation. There is little escaping that the storage required to gain the propulsion adds some weight, particularly in the context of batteries.

Posting on the roll out of the hydrogen bike fleet, Dick van Goch, the bike’s importer wrote: “The bicycle fits in with the municipality’s intention to make the city center of Groningen emission-free. This could also be done with electric vehicles, but they would be too much of a burden on the electricity network. The hydrogen supplied by Holthausen is 100% green, because it is generated by the solar park next to the filling station.”

If the pilot proceeds more bikes will be brought in with a target price reduction on the current limited model of around €2,500.

Yesterday the UK Government revealed more detail on its Hydrogen strategy, announcing 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. The output proposed has been questioned by critics who suggest the figures would equate to powering just 0.2% of UK homes. Hydrogen is expected to have a greater impact on assisting lowering emissions from 2030 onwards.

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