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Abu Dhabi plans gradual transition towards 100% green buses

Abu Dhabi plans gradual transition towards 100% green buses
29 Nov 2023 09:16

HALA AL-KHAYYAT (ABU DHABI) - Abu Dhabi has unveiled its plan for a gradual transition towards emission-free green buses, aiming to make Abu Dhabi a green zone by 2030, served by a public transport system running on sustainable electric and hydrogen alternatives, and moving towards a complete transformation by 2050.

During the GreenMobility Forum organised on Tuesday by the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) under the Department of Municipalities and Transport, the transition plan towards enhancing the sustainable transport system in Abu Dhabi was announced.

The pilot phase for hydrogen and electric buses is set to begin at the end of 2024 and continue for 18 months, aiming for a 20% transition of public transport buses to sustainable energy alternatives by 2030, and reaching 100% by 2050.

The forum saw participation from officials from government entities, representatives from the Republic of Korea and the People’s Republic of China, as well as representatives of companies manufacturing green energy buses, and several educational institutions, including United Arab Emirates University, Khalifa University, and others.

Abdullah Al Marzouqi, General Manager of the ITC, in his opening speech at the Forum, emphasised the Centre’s commitment to working closely with its strategic partners, both locally and globally, through the Green Buses Capacity Building Programme, as part of the roadmap prepared by the Centre in line with the country’s efforts and achievement of Net Zero 2050.

Al Marzouqi affirmed the Centre’s commitment to supporting the efforts of the Abu Dhabi government in establishing itself as a pioneering city in adopting environmentally friendly transport alternatives. These efforts align with the initiatives made in the UAE during the Year of Sustainability and in preparation for hosting the 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP28).

The aim is to enhance the Emirate’s efforts in reducing carbon emissions, providing diverse transport options for the community, supporting the economy and the environment, and creating smart, sustainable cities that contribute to improving the quality of life.

At the Forum, models of hydrogen and electric buses that will operate as part of Abu Dhabi’s public transport network during the evaluation phase were showcased. Mohamed Al Hosani, Acting Executive Director of Public Transport Sector at ITC, stated that the programme was launched last year after signing memoranda of understanding with both South Korea, a leader in hydrogen buses, and China, a leader in electric buses.

He said that the first phase of the project will gradually make Abu Dhabi’s public transport fleet completely carbon emission-free and green by 2030, with the goal of having the entire public transport bus fleet green by 2050.

Al Hosani explained that the journey is long and significantly transformative, based on a strategic concept of partnership and diversity, and green mobility is an option for everyone, pointing out that the transformation plan enabled the Centre to launch with greater readiness, armed with the expertise of partners and shared knowledge through a specialised training programme for Emirati talents and visits to factories and stations in different cities in South Korea and China.

Badreya Al-Kaabi, Director of the Green Buses Capacity Building Programme at the ITC, clarified that the programme aims to make Abu Dhabi a green zone served by a public transport system operating on sustainable energy alternatives by 2030. The transition will include approximately 260 buses, about 20%, reaching 40% in 2024 and culminating in a complete change by 2050 to include 100% of the public transport bus fleet, operating on hydrogen or electric energy.

This will be based on evaluation results starting from the second quarter of 2024 for 18 months, during which buses will be assessed operationally, in terms of maintenance, cost, environmental impact, and more.

The forum highlighted one of the most important partnerships within the Green Buses Capacity Building Programme as being the establishment of the first hydrogen station in the UAE, serving public transport buses and taxis, recently inaugurated in Masdar City in collaboration with ADNOC.

Through diverse partnerships within the Programme’s framework, several models of hydrogen and electric buses will be comprehensively evaluated for technical and operational aspects and more, during the programme period extending until the third quarter of 2025.

The results and outputs of this evaluation will form the basis for the gradual transformation plan of the public transport bus fleet in the Emirate towards a green energy fleet, aligning with the efforts of leading global cities in this field. On the sidelines of the forum, the ITC signed several partnership agreements with programme partners from manufacturers of hydrogen and electric buses.

These partners contributed to developing the technical specifications of the buses initially before proceeding with the evaluation phase, committing to support the Centre technically and operationally and sharing knowledge with the Programme’s team.

Partners of the programme, both local and global, praised this experience as an innovative platform through which cooperation between the government and private sectors is fostered to develop advanced mobility solutions that align with the local context of the region, enhancing Abu Dhabi’s regional stature as a reference through this integrated experience.

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