#04 | The future of public transport is green

By Mario Canet, Head of New Development at TMB

In response to the growing social demand for increasingly sustainable public transport solutions with less impact on the environment, Barcelona’s bus network is making an energy transition towards decarbonization and maximum efficiency, which will be developed over the coming years, in which buses reaching the end of their useful life will be progressively replaced by new vehicles powered by the cleanest energies available.

In the recently approved Strategic Plan 2025, TMB, as the main operator of the collective transport system in the Barcelona area, places sustainability and the environment at the forefront of its strategic focus. For the bus network, this translates into a commitment to renew and expand the fleet with criteria of sustainability, energy efficiency and digital transformation. And the same master plan specifies that 508 clean energy buses will be incorporated by 2025, of which 233 will be electric and 46 hydrogen buses.

Barcelona’s first proposal to decarbonize public transport and reduce the climate crisis is the efficient electrification of the bus fleet, which includes careful planning of charging infrastructures both in depots and on the street. In this regard, TMB is promoting an innovative project to harness electricity from the metro network to supply buses, with savings of up to 30%.

In 2021, the first bus line in Barcelona was fully electrified and converted to zero emissions, to which two more will be added between 2022 and 2023, all of them with high demand. In parallel, TMB has initiated the adoption of the hydrogen fuel cell, also zero-emission, with the contracting of 8 standard units and the promotion of a green hydrogen production plant that is already in production.

Finally, the third way forward in reducing emissions in the Barcelona bus network is the adoption of biogas, a green energy that TMB is promoting through its participation in research projects such as LIFE Nimbus, to convert sewage sludge into fuel. Our technical department is also engaged in the search for sources of production and supply of biomethane as a technology to achieve zero impact on CO2 emissions. In the meantime, since 2019 all-new gas buses purchased are hybrids, with significant savings in consumption and emissions.

In fact, Barcelona’s buses are already at the forefront in Europe for their low levels of emissions of harmful gases and particles, after previous environmental reconversions that have enabled 69% of the 1,140 units to be powered by compressed natural gas, hybrid or electric engines.