Scottish Cities Alliance’s foundations for a hydrogen economy pay dividends.

March 30th 2020
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing, Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden (left) and First Aberdeen Operations Director for David Phillips (right) at the hydrogen refuelling station in Cove, Aberdeen

In 2013, the Scottish Cities Alliance commissioned a study on 'Building a Hydrogen Economy for Scotland’, which resulted in a strategy document with a national vision for using hydrogen. After assessing the findings, the seven Scottish cities agreed to pursue several key strands of activities to begin developing a hydrogen economy.

One of the most significant and ambitious projects that the Alliance is involved with is the commercialisation of hydrogen fuel cell buses and infrastructure, which is the largest project of its scale in Europe.

The new £8.3million project has been funded by Aberdeen City Council, the Scottish Government and through the SCA the European Union’s JIVE project, which aims to aid commercialisation of hydrogen buses through joint procurement between cities. Dundee is a lead partner in the JIVE2 programme.

The buses have been produced by UK-based company Wrightbus and will complement the existing fleet that the city boasts including a range of hydrogen and electric vans and cars through a car share scheme. They are as efficient as electric equivalents, with refuelling taking less than 10 minutes and offering a greater range. Water is the only emission from the vehicles which reduces carbon emissions and the new buses continues to contribute to the city’s commitment to tackling air pollution.

In 2015, the UK’s first hydrogen production and bus refuelling station was opened in Aberdeen 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.

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said:

Aberdeen is at the forefront of developing green technologies and our continued innovative commitment to hydrogen truly puts us on the global map.

"The new buses come with even better technology helping to tackle air pollution in the city and further makes Aberdeen an entrepreneurial and technological leader by pushing boundaries for hydrogen.

“We are really proud to be the world’s first city with hydrogen double-deckers and we look forward to seeing them on the city’s roads.

The introduction of hydrogen fuelled buses to Aberdeen will further underline the city’s role as a pioneer in hydrogen. Alongside multiple hydrogen-led projects throughout the Scottish cities, this will allow Scotland to position itself as one of Europe’s leading early adopters of hydrogen technology and attract investment into sectors such as manufacturing, engineering, energy and commercialisation of the technology over the next few years.

The use of hydrogen solutions will also contribute to the achievement of Scotland’s challenging climate change targets and improve local air quality.

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

Scotland has some of the most ambitious emission reduction targets in the world so, in the years to come, I expect we will begin to see many more ‘greener and cleaner’ transport solutions like this begin to emerge.

"I’m proud that today’s announcement, which is a world first, has been made possible thanks in part to Scottish Government funding.

"We are currently undertaking a wide-ranging project to assess the potential for hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells for use in transport and heating across Scotland. Hydrogen could well play an important role in the energy transition that’s required in order to meet our 2045 net zero emissions target.

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