A £21 million Scottish green transport project has celebrated its first anniversary of operations this weekend.
The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project has seen Europe’s largest fuel cell bus fleet travel take to the streets of the oil capital of Europe, along with the creation of the UK’s first hydrogen production and bus refuelling station, along with a purpose-built maintenance facility.
In the first year, the fleet has travelled 250,000 miles – the equivalent distance of each bus driving round the world or travelling 25 times to London and back again.
The Dutch-built buses have carried more than 440,000 passengers on the First X40 Bridge of Don to Kingswells Park and Ride and Stagecoach X17 Guild Street to Westhill Park and Ride route, carrying an average of some 36,000 passengers each month.
The project has been co-funded by Scottish, UK and European partners: the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK (£2.4 million); Scottish Government (£1.7 million); Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) through the High V.LO-City and HyTransit projects (£8.3 million); Aberdeen Cooncil (£2 million); First (£1 million); Stagecoach (£1 million); Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution £750,000; and Scotland Gas Network £200,000.
BOC has invested £1 million in the hydrogen production and refuelling station. Its local hydrogen production and refuelling station has refuelled the vehicles more than 1600 times.
The buses, which produce no C02 emissions and produce only water vapour at the ‘exhaust’ tailpipe, have proven to be almost four times more fuel efficient than their diesel equivalents.
The 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.
Cooncillor Barney Crockett, said: “The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project has been a great success story for Aberdeen and all of the partners and funders involved in it.
“In the space of just a year since we moved into the operational phase, the project has outperformed expectations.
“It’s been very well received by the bus drivers and members of the public, and has created a real buzz about the city’s hydrogen capabilities.
“These vehicles have replaced 10 diesel buses on the city’s streets, cutting the amount of toxins polluting our air on a daily basis and helping us work towards making Aberdeen a cleaner, greener city, with a clear focus on low-carbon technologies.
“On the strength of the project, we’ve managed to introduce other hydrogen vehicles to Aberdeen and have successfully cemented our position as a leading hydrogen city.
“By working with this clean, renewable fuel we are securing our position as a world-leading energy city which will continue to not only attract significant investment, but also present exciting new research, development and employment opportunities.”
Dr Hamish Nichol, BOC innovation manager for hydrogen, said: “The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project has established the city’s credentials as a centre for investment in low-carbon technologies and on a local level is helping to improve air quality in the city.
“The result of a successful public-private partnership project, BOC’s H2 refuelling station at Kittybrewster provides a clear demonstration of the viability of hydrogen as a carbon-free, zero emission fuel and redefines the benchmark for other refuelling stations to follow. We are very proud of the station’s 99.99% per cent availability which clearly defines the station as’ world-class’.”
** ‘Cooncil’ is the Scots language word for ‘council’ and is not pejorative:
Dictionar o’ the Scots Leid / Dictionary of the Scots Language – http://goo.gl/7xo5Bk