Next shipment of hydrogen buses rolls into Aberdeen

1 July 2014  •  Author(s): Aberdeen City Council

Two more zero-emission buses have arrived in the North-east as part of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project.

The vehicles, built by Belgian firm Van Hool, have been delivered to Stagecoach’s Tullos depot in the south of the city. They bring the total delivered so far to six, with the remaining four of Europe’s largest hydrogen bus fleet due to arrive in the coming months. Four of the vehicles will be operated by First Aberdeen and six by Stagecoach on city routes.

The Aberdeen City Council-led project, which has backing from Europe, the UK Government and the Scottish Government, as well as a broad range of private sector partners, is the most high-profile of a range of projects designed to create a hydrogen economy in the city.

It will deliver a hydrogen infrastructure in Aberdeen in 2014. This will include the production of hydrogen from a 1MW electrolyser and establishing Scotland’s first commercial-scale hydrogen refuelling system, which will include hydrogen production through electrolysis, in partnership with BOC.

Enterprise, Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Convener Councillor Barney Crockett said: “The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is a really exciting and important venture for the city. The delivery of two more buses, the first of the six delivered as part of the HyTransit-funded part of the project, takes us a step closer to having the largest European fleet of these green vehicles. Just last week we unveiled Scotland’s first hydrogen-diesel transit vans, which will be used as part of our fleet.

“Aberdeen is a leading the way on hydrogen in Europe and we have our sights firmly fixed on being not only a leading world energy city, but also a world-leading hydrogen city in the years to come.

“We have great aspirations for hydrogen as a renewable and clean fuel, and our officers are working hard to secure a hydrogen economy in Aberdeen. These are exciting times for the city, with great prospects for the future.”

The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is a large-scale demonstration project which is testing the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies and aims to drive the development of hydrogen technologies.

The project has been co-funded by Scottish, UK and European partners: the UK’s innovation agency, Technology Strategy Board (£2.4million); Scottish Government (£1.7 million); Scottish Enterprise (£1.7million); European Union Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) through the High V.LO-City and HyTransit projects (£8.3million).

The use of hydrogen as a transport fuel offers great promise as a key component of a low carbon energy system. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles emit no harmful emissions, and are virtually noise free.

The vehicles will be operated by First Aberdeen and Stagecoach and will be in use on routes across the city. Because this hydrogen technology is so new, a considerable amount of education and learning must be carried out before the buses start carrying passengers. The arrival of the buses was planned in advance of the hydrogen production and re-fuelling facility completion to ensure driver training, technician training and other operational planning can be completed prior to passenger operations commencing.

The vehicles will be refuelled at Scotland’s first large hydrogen refuelling station, at the council’s Kittybrewster depot. Further refuelling stations are proposed across the city as the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project evolves.

The project is part of the H2 Aberdeen initiative, which provides the opportunity to create a new industry and greater choice in energy production and usage, as well as enabling the development of a hydrogen strategy for the Energetica Development Corridor.

It is also part of the HyTrEc (Hydrogen Transport Economy) transnational project which involves: working with EU partners around North Sea to facilitate transnational co-operation and learning; enhancing the competitiveness of the North Sea Region in hydrogen development; and providing a platform for joined-up working towards a hydrogen strategy across the North Sea region.

As well as the benefits to the transport sector, hydrogen has a potentially vital role in the broader energy storage system – if it is generated from intermittent renewable electricity sources, such as wind turbines, it can be stored and used for a variety of purposes, including injection into the natural gas grid, and used to generate electricity at times of peak demand.

The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project partners are: Aberdeen City Council; Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG); Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution; BOC; Van Hool; First; Stagecoach; and Scotland Gas Networks.

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