The world’s first fleet of double decker hydrogen buses is being officially launched into service tomorrow in Aberdeen.
Run by First Bus – Scotland’s largest bus operator – in a project led by Aberdeen City Council, the hydrogen buses represent a major step forward in reducing climate change, as cities across the world witness how far innovation in the transport industry has come.
The zero-emission fleet emits nothing more than water from its exhausts as the fuel is made from just wind and water. Furthermore, plans are in place for Aberdeen to make its own hydrogen to power the buses, making it an even greener energy source for the local community.
The start of the first of the zero emission buses on their service routes tomorrow also underlines the city’s role as the energy capital of Europe and shows its commitment to the transition of green energy from oil and gas as part of the city’s Net Zero Vision.
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “We are delighted to be launching the world’s first hydrogen double decker bus fleet onto the streets of Aberdeen.”
“Aberdeen is one of Europe’s pioneering hydrogen cities and through the work of Aberdeen City Council, the city has developed a cluster of hydrogen activity and the new double decker buses are a great addition to one of the largest and most varied fleets of hydrogen vehicles in Europe. They have even more advanced technology which pushes established hydrogen boundaries and will greatly assist us in tackling air pollution in the city.”
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “It is fantastic to see the world’s first hydrogen-powered double decker buses being driven about and used by residents of Aberdeen.
“The buses show our commitment to achieving net zero and support the global energy transition as a climate positive city while cementing our position as a world leader in the energy sector as an economic driver for the city, region, Scotland and the UK.”
The new 60-seat double-deckers are set to transform the air of the granite city as they save one kilogram of CO2 with each kilometre they drive. The buses will also tackle more than just air pollution, as they are virtually silent when they run, helping to create quieter, calmer streets.
While prototype hydrogen buses have been designed and used previously, as the transport industry explores how it can make use of universe’s most abundant element, these double deckers are the first of their kind to go into operation and welcome customers on board.
Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director at First Bus, said: “Today marks a significant milestone in our industry and the way that people choose to travel. Scotland will be home to COP26 later this year and it is fantastic to know that we’ll be setting a stellar example of just what can be achieved with new technology as we welcome leaders from around the world.
“First Bus serves thousands of customers in Aberdeen and we know that so many of our customers take the bus because they care about our planet and reducing their carbon footprint. We’re excited to now be able to offer them an even greener and quieter way of getting about the city.”
Hydrogen will play a significant part in the future of the bus industry, as they offer an extremely efficient fuel solution, with great range. The cutting-edge buses also take less than 10 minutes to fully refuel.
The vehicles will be operated mainly on the Service 19 (Peterculter to Tillydrone) along with other services and is part funded by the European Union’s JIVE project, which aims to aid commercialisation of hydrogen buses through joint procurement between cities. Cities that will follow Aberdeen’s footsteps include London and Birmingham, with Dundee and Brighton and Hove being lead partners in JIVE2.
The new £8.3million project has been funded by Aberdeen City Council, the Scottish Government, and the European Union (FCH JU), with an investment of about £500,000 per vehicle.
The UK’s first hydrogen production and bus refuelling station was opened in Aberdeen in 2015 as part of a £19million green transport demonstration project. The Aberdeen City Council-led project tested the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies and aims to drive the development of hydrogen technologies.
To support the launch, First Bus has unveiled the hotly anticipated new buses in a quirky ‘Stars in their Eyes’ themed video on social media, designed to get Scotland’s hydrogen-eration all steamed up for the arrival of the new fleet.
Picture by Abermedia / Michal Wachucik
* This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 735582. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe Industry and Hydrogen Europe Research.
About the FCH JU: The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) is a unique public private partnership supporting research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe. Its aim is to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies, realising their potential as an instrument in achieving a carbon-lean energy system. The three members of the FCH JU are the European Commission, fuel cell and hydrogen industries represented by Hydrogen Europe and the research community represented by the research grouping Hydrogen Europe Research.
About JIVE: The JIVE (Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe) project seeks to deploy 139 new zero-emission fuel cell buses and associated refuelling infrastructure across five countries. JIVE has received funding from the FCH JU (Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) under grant agreement No 735582. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe Industry and Hydrogen Europe Research. This is the first out of two projects: The JIVE2 project started in January 2018. Combined, the JIVE projects will deploy nearly 300 fuel cell buses in 22 cities across Europe by the early 2020s. This is the most ambitious pan-European initiative to-date in commercialising hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.