Six cities across Europe and Canada have launched a drive to make hydrogen fuel cell buses commercially viable. The cities of London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg and the province of British Columbia are to jointly buy these buses, which emit water vapour only. The partners decided to proceed with this international alliance following the successful completion of the major EU-assisted hydrogen- and fuel cell bus project CUTE (Clean Urban Transport for Europe).

The hydrogen buses generally emit lower emissions than traditional buses and cut out urban pollution. However, they have up till now been prohibitively expensive to use on larger scales. But there are perspectives for making hydrogen buses both cheaper to run and carbon-neutral in the near future. A recent study in London pointed to the possibility of making hydrogen for use in fuel cells completely carbon-neutral, by using energy derived from the capital's waste.

Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron, chair of the London Hydrogen Partnership, said: "In London we have a growing amount of waste and if we can produce renewable hydrogen from this, it will play a large part in cutting harmful emissions and managing our rubbish in a sustainable way."