EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin took a ride on a prototype hydrogen-powered bus in Brussels on Sunday to promote EU funded research into alternative fuels for transport. The event, in support of European Mobility Week and the Car Free Day, gave members of the public and journalists the opportunity to see hydrogen technology in action, and provided a glimpse into the future of public transport in Europe. 'Nowadays, more than 95 per cent of transport is based on fuels derived from crude oil,' said Mr. Busquin. 'The Commission is committed to reducing congestion and its detrimental effects, particularly in urban areas. The introduction of hydrogen fuel cell buses will help cities improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions.' The CUTE project (Clean urban transport for Europe), supported by 18.5 million euro of EU funding, will introduce 30 improved versions of the prototype bus into major cities across Europe. The first is due to be delivered in Madrid early in 2003. The performance of the fuel cell bus is comparable with conventional diesel models, with a maximum speed of 80 km/h. The fleet, the largest of its kind anywhere in the world, should prove that zero emission bussing is already a viable option for urban areas. Another project receiving 2.85 million euro of funding from the EU is ECTOS (Ecological city transport system). Based in Reykjavik, ECTOS will study the practicalities of a hydrogen-based transport system, looking at issues such as hydrogen production and refilling in city centres. The project will also include an environmental and social impact assessment study. The best practices identified in Iceland will benefit forthcoming EU projects in other European cities.