The cleanest fleets: a new Manchester/Liverpool rivalry


Liverpool City Region is set to be the first Northern city to trial hydrogen buses, while Greater Manchester has secured more funding to clean up its bus fleet and is even trialling electric bin lorries.

The Liverpool City Region has successfully secured £6.4 million from government to trial up to 25 hydrogen-powered buses, which will emit nothing but water from the exhaust pipe.

Hydrogen for Liverpool

The bid was put forward by a consortium led by industrial gases company BOC, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, fuel cell technology firm Arcola Energy and bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis.

The project will see the creation of a new hydrogen refuelling station at BOC’s existing hydrogen production plant in St Helens, which will deliver 500kg of hydrogen every day. Arcola Energy is also in the process of setting up a production facility in the region.

The first bus trial is expected in 2020. Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Introducing commercially-viable hydrogen-powered buses would not only help our city region tackle poor air quality and achieve our ambition of being zero carbon by 2040 but would put us at the forefront of a technology that could be transformative for the rest of the country and beyond.”

Retrofits for Manchester

In Greater Manchester, £3 million in government funding has been secured to help retrofit 176 of its buses with pollution control equipment technology, which will help reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate tailpipe emissions. A bid for £3 million from the same fund had also been successfully secured in 2018.

The latest award comes just over a month after the city region and its bus operators secured nearly a third of a £48 million national funding pot for electric buses, which will produce one of Europe’s largest e-bus fleets.

Currently, only 350 of Greater Manchester’s 2,000 buses have the most environmentally-efficient Euro VI engines, but 1,260 are suitable for retrofitting.

Electric waste collections

Meanwhile, waste management firm Biffa has partnered with Manchester City Council to conduct a six month trial of the first fully-electric waste truck.

The 27 tonne vehicle, which works to the same specification as a conventional waste truck but runs on batteries, will bring quieter waste collections as well as improving air quality. The pilot will be used by Biffa to help develop a longer-term strategy on future fleet replacements.

Posted under Fuel Efficiency, Environmental Technologies and Renewable Energy and Public / Government / Charity on 3 April 2019