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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
5 October 2004
Australia has the potential to be among the world's leading nations in zero-emission hydrogen-powered public transport, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.
"A re-elected Coalition Government will contribute $67 million over three years to a national programme for hydrogen fuel depots and purchase up to 90 hydrogen fuel cell buses," Senator Campbell said.
"As we move to using cheap, readily available alternate resources to fossil fuels, hydrogen power is set to become a major factor in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"Buses currently contribute about 2.7 percent of road transport greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing the entire Australian bus fleet with hydrogen-powered buses would cut the carbon dioxide currently produced by two million tonnes, the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road.
"This investment will help fund the next stage of development for the biggest trial in the world of hydrogen fuelled buses. It will set Australia on a path to real fossil fuel alternatives that help reduce global warming."
"The initiative will demonstrate how innovative technologies such as hydrogen fuel cell buses can improve the emissions performance of the Australian bus fleet.
In a hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen reacts with oxygen to form water (steam) - a controlled chemical process that generates electricity. The hydrogen fuel cell is a very efficient producer of electricity - two to three times more efficient in converting fuel to power than an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen fuel cells have zero tailpipe emissions.
Senator Campbell said he looked forward to seeing the results of a two-year trial of hydrogen fuel cell buses starting in Perth this month to which the Coalition Government had already contributed $2.5 million. This trial involves three hydrogen fuel cell buses operating on Transperth service routes and is jointly sponsored by the Australian Government, the State, Daimler-Chrysler and BP.
"Our plan is to have the first buses in the national trial operating on Brisbane streets in 2008 with other capital cities to follow," Senator Campbell said.