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Bulgaria is slowly but surely embracing hydrogen in public transport

Bulgaria is slowly but surely embracing hydrogen in public transport

Experts presented a portfolio of projects on the quick roll-out of hydrogen, with Ruse and Sofia as the first getting a taste of the new technology

Today, during the hybrid conference ‘Hydrogen industry – good practices from Germany. New opportunities for Bulgaria’, prof. Daria Vladikova a representative of 'Bulgarian Hydrogen Association' (BHA) presented the country's hydrogen plans. She announced that four municipalities are ready to implement hydrogen fuel technology in the public sector. These include Sofia, Stara Zagora, Ruse and Burgas.

The projects were developed by the BHA and are financed through the 'Fuel cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking', a European structure designed to expand the adoption of the sustainable energy source. They include plans for 140 municipal cars, 65 retrofitted trolleys, as well as land freight and ships on the Danube and the accompanying charging infrastructure.

Gradual roll out with great potential

Prof. Vladikova explained that two of the projects are in their final stages. The first one cost 20 million euros and it includes 30 hydrogen buses and trolleys, with the supporting infrastructure for Sofia, the capital. The second project is for a retrofitted pusher ship on the Danube in Ruse in tandem with charging infrastructure and hydrogen public transport.

Vladokova presented another project for the expansion of hydrogen to heavier vehicles, like garbage trucks, locomotives, ships, buses and trolleys. According to her, hydrogen has no alternative, when it comes to performance effectiveness for longer hauls.

She continued by pointing out that batteries tend to perform better in urban environments and lighter vehicles, however, hydrogen tanks require only 5 minutes to charge and their efficiency per kilometre in longer distances is about the same as conventional fuel.

The Education Ministry finances other hydrogen projects that focus more on innovation. One such project is the comparative analysis for extending distance per fuel measurement between batteries and hydrogen. The project uses trolleys in the city of Sofia.

Collaboration is in the air

The conference ‘Hydrogen industry – good practices from Germany. New opportunities for Bulgaria’ was organised by the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK Bulgarien) with the aim of strengthening ties and spreading experience between the two countries.

The event lasted for two days and was sponsored by the European Investment Bank and it focused on both sides of the coin. On day one, German representatives discussed their approach to the adoption of the new technologies, while day two centred around presenting Bulgarian success in the field.

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