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Thursday, 11 October, 2001, 05:29 GMT 06:29 UK
Ray of light for bus travel
An advert for Usher
The buses have been called "transport from sunshine"
Buses which give off water vapour instead of noxious fumes will be coming to the roads of Cambridge.

The new green public transport project has won European Commission money and is believed to be the world's largest solar-hydrogen energy project.

Cambridge University will manage the "Usher" project in partnership with engineers Whitby Bird and Partners and the Swedish island of Gotland.

Sunlight will be converted into electricity which is then used to split water into hydrogen and oxgen.

'Green alternative'

Hydrogen will then be compressed into fuel cells which will power the buses. The only emission from the fuel cells will be water vapour.

Colin Saunders, Usher's project manager, said: "This project is a totally green alternative to oil, it is transport from sunshine.

"The scheme is an operational demonstration of areas of technology that are under research within the university."

We hope Usher will act as the first step on the path leading us out of our climate-changing fossil-fuel based economy

Ben Madden, Whitby Bird and Partners
The project has been given a 1.38m grant. A similar project will have solar panels on roofs of buildings in the Swedish island of Gotland.

It is hoped that the buses, which will run from the west Cambridge development to the city centre, will encourage greener transport solutions.

Ben Madden, of Whitby Bird and Partners, said: "This project has allowed us to demonstrate how hydrogen allows renewable energy to be stored and used in transport.

"We hope Usher will raise global interest and encourage the uptake of similar technologies, acting as the first step on the path leading us out of our climate-changing fossil-fuel based economy."

Detailed work on the project is due to start in the new year and it is expected to be completed in September 2003.

Click here to go to BBC Cambridgeshire Online
See also:

15 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
Green light for solar energy
13 Jul 01 | UK
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15 Jun 01 | Business
Shell explores alternative energy
05 Apr 01 | UK Politics
UK to get 18 wind farms
08 Sep 00 | Business
Alternatives to oil
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