Emerald Coaches to invest $100m for hydrogen-powered fleet overhaul

Emerald Coaches to invest $100m for hydrogen-powered fleet overhaul

Emerald Coaches directors Michael and Rachael Baulch.

Queensland private passenger transport operator Emerald Coaches has today announced plans to replace its entire 120-strong fleet with hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles by 2040, with plans to spend an estimated $100 million on the initiative to hit a zero-emissions target.

In an announcement ahead of the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this weekend, Emerald Coaches plans to roll out its first two hydrogen-powered electric buses next year as it works towards a more sustainable solution to the current one million litres of diesel fuel used by its vehicles annually.

Green hydrogen will be produced at Emerald Coaches using rainwater captured onsite with a renewable powered electrolyser generating hydrogen to power the entire fleet.

This closed loop system is expected to provide complete fuel security, price stability and will eliminate the need to transport hydrogen from another facility. With approximately 90 per cent of fuels used in Australian derived from oil sourced from abroad, locally produced green hydrogen will help offset the risk of fuel disruption and price instability.

"Australia’s transport industry is one of the most energy intensive in the world. We believe renewable hydrogen is the future of the transport industry," says Emerald Coaches director Michael Baulch.

"It’s a natural gas that is extracted from water making it a completely clean and sustainable fuel source. The only thing to come out of the exhaust is water."

As the largest provider of school bus services in the Central Highlands, the company will complete more than one million passenger trips per annum on hydrogen powered buses starting at the end of 2022.

"We have proudly provided transport services for the past 40 years. By leading the way and being the first to commit to zero emissions, we are hoping to have a positive impact on our community and our team and encourage other business sectors to consider doing things differently," explains another Emerald Coaches director, Rachael Baulch.

"There will be many opportunities to provide jobs and ongoing education in a completely new and innovative space, right here in Emerald."

Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, congratulates Emerald Coaches for its $100 million commitment to convert its diesel buses to hydrogen fuel cell buses. 

"The transport industry produces approximately 14 per cent of greenhouses emissions and today’s announcement is a great example of how the private sector can play an important role in seriously addressing the impact of climate change," Bailey says.

"We look forward to working with Emerald Coaches to support them in delivering their zero-emission strategy."

The company describes the hydrogen powered buses as the "jewel in the crown" of its e-mission zero strategy, but it will also implement other energy efficiency measures to ensure the use of 100 per cent renewable electricity in its facilities by 2025. This will include 100 per cent renewable power, recycling and rainwater systems, paperless office systems and water efficient mobile vehicle washing units.

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