A deal for the first hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses in Northern Ireland has been signed by the public transport company Translink.

Translink has ordered three of the buses from Wrightbus in a deal supported by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Northern Irish government’s Department for Infrastructure.

As part of the initiative Energia Group has signed a contract with Translink to supply renewably-sourced hydrogen fuel from an on-shore North Antrim windfarm. The overall capital investment represents around £4m.

At the signing of the deal, minister for infrastructure Nichola Mallon said: “It represents a significant first step to tackling the climate emergency we face and demonstrates how working together and as individuals we can play our part in delivering the ambitions of the Northern Ireland Executive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.”

Translink Group chief executive Chris Conway commented: “We would like to thank OLEV and the Department for Infrastructure for essential project funding and look forward to working with Energia Group and local manufacturer Wrightbus to deliver this new era for public transport in Northern Ireland.”

Wrightbus chairman Jo Bamford said: “As Wrightbus embark on an exciting new era to revolutionise public transport we are delighted to be able to partner Translink with these fantastic world leading fuel cell electric vehicles. This order helps further cement and develop our valued relationship and further proves that Northern Ireland can be at the front of the world stage when pioneering solutions which deliver zero emissions in our towns and cities throughout the UK and Ireland and the rest of the world while helping our local environment and economy.”

Energia Group chief executive Ian Thom said: “We are delighted to partner with Translink on this renewable hydrogen project which brings together both public and private sector investment and innovation. The project will also be an important enabler for the development of the skills and capabilities of local companies, such as Wrightbus, so that export opportunities in the global hydrogen economy can be realised.”

Pictured above at the signing are, from left: Energia Group chief executive Ian Thom; infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon; Wrightbus chairman Jo Bamford; and Translink Group chief executive Chris Conway.