Business

Wrightbus goes nuclear with bus order for £20bn Sizewell power plant

The StreetDeck Hydroliner bus built in Ballymena by Wrightbus
The StreetDeck Hydroliner bus built in Ballymena by Wrightbus The StreetDeck Hydroliner bus built in Ballymena by Wrightbus

BALLYMENA bus manufacturer Wrightbus has signed a lucrative supply deal to supply vehicles to Sizewell C, the 3.2-gigawatt nuclear power station in Suffolk.

Sizewell C has ordered four Streetdeck Hydroliners from Wrightbus to test whether they could be used during the construction of the new £20 billion nuclear power station, which will power six million homes and generate electricity for 60 years.

The buses will be used to transport thousands of workers to and from the construction site near Leiston over the nine-year build period.

And if the pilot scheme is successful, it could see up to 150 hydrogen buses operating on the site - making it one of the largest such fleets in the world.

Sizewell C will be testing the operational performance of the double deck buses, which are cleaner than diesel- or petrol-powered vehicles as hydrogen fuel doesn’t produce carbon emissions.

The four buses in the pilot scheme are expected to be delivered in early 2024 and will be among the first hydrogen buses to be based in Suffolk.

Julia Pyke, joint managing director of Sizewell C said: “Once it starts generating, Sizewell C will be one of the biggest generators of low carbon electricity in the country. Our plans for hydrogen buses show we are determined that the construction of the power station will also be as clean as possible.

“A hydrogen fleet will lower our carbon emissions and reduce the impact of workforce transport on local communities. At the same time, I'm excited that we will potentially kick-start a market for this important low-carbon fuel in the east of England.”

Wrightbus chief executive Jean-Marc Gales said: “We are delighted to be working with Sizewell C on this pilot and the fact that it could lead to a fleet of up to 150 hydrogen buses is testament to the potential hydrogen has for both passenger transport and construction sites.”

As well as using hydrogen for transport, Sizewell C is helping to pave the way for hydrogen-powered equipment to be used on large construction sites.

The project is part of a consortium led by Wrightbus’s sister company Ryze which has just been awarded more than £3m of Government funding to test a mobile hydrogen refuelling system.

If successful, this innovative technology could eventually reduce the need to use fossil fuels in machinery and equipment.