The Canadian Province of British Columbia (BC) has unveiled the first of 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses for operation on the planned Hydrogen Highway.

The ‘Bus 1’, also Canada’s first fuel cell bus, forms part of the 20-bus fleet to be used in Whistler, BC, during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

When fully operational the fleet is expected to become the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet operating in a single location.

The new hydrogen bus produces no smog-creating emissions or greenhouse gases. It works by using hydrogen combined with oxygen in a fuel cell, which electrochemically produces electricity with heat and water left as the only by-products.

The $89.5m bus project is being funded by $45m from the Government of Canada and $44.5m from the Province and BC Transit.

The fleet is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,800 tons per year and is part of the province’s $14bn Provincial Transit Plan to cut similar emissions by 4.7 million tons cumulatively by 2020.