World’s first hydrogen double-deckers to start their routes today in Aberdeen

VIDEO CONTENT: The world’s first fleet of double-decker hydrogen buses officially launched into service today in Aberdeen.

Similar fleets are due to be launched in London and Birmingham later this year.

Run by First Bus – one of Scotland’s largest bus operators – 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 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: “It’s great to see the world’s first hydrogen double-decker buses starting on their service routes in Aberdeen.

“The buses are a fantastic asset to the city as an entrepreneurial and technological leader as they have even more advanced technology which pushes established hydrogen boundaries and also 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-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 £8.3m 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 £19m 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 , Scotland: The launch of world’s first hydrogen double decker busses starting their service routes in Aberdeen

About the project’s funding

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.

Hydrogen bus facts

  • Simple, abundant and clean fuel: This bus is powered by hydrogen, the simplest and most abundant element in the universe – made up of one proton and one electron.
  • Zero emission: Hydrogen releases zero emissions. This bus is clean and green, and only emits water from the exhaust.
  • UK-made bus: This bus is proudly made in the UK by Wrightbus. Production of this bus has supported jobs during the COVID crisis.
  • Aberdeen-produced fuel: Hydrogen is made from wind and water, and Aberdeen will soon by making its own hydrogen to power these buses. Local energy for local communities.
  • Efficient powertrain: A fuel-cell combines hydrogen, a carbon-free fuel and oxygen from the air to produce electrical energy efficiently.
  • Quieter, calmer streets: this bus is quieter for passengers and is reducing noise pollution in Aberdeen.
  • Only by-products are water and heat: Fuel-cell electric buses produce no tailpipe emissions – the only by-products is water.
  • Combatting climate change: These clean buses can play a major role in reducing Aberdeen’s carbon footprint. By replacing old buses, this zero emission bus saves:
    • 1 kg of CO2 per km
    • 1.7 kg of CO2 per mile
    • 84 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, the equivalent of removing 38 petrol or 40 diesel cars from the road.
    • 1004 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the life of the vehicle (12 years).
  • Healthier communities: This zero-emission bus supports personal wellbeing and releases no exhaust pollutants that can harm respiratory and cardiovascular health.

Assumptions for CO2 calculations

  • First Aberdeen currently use diesel Euro IV engine buses on the route the fuel-cell electric buses are destined for, with a fuel economy of 6.82 mpg.
  • Scope limited to direct tailpipe emissions only.
  • Metrics are per bus.
  • Diesel CO2 emission factor of 2.511 kgCO2/l (average biofuel blend). Source: UK GOV GHG factors 2020.
  • Assumes buses cover 50,000 miles per annum.
  • Average annual mileage of a household car = 7800 miles per annum. Source: DfT National Travel Survey 2017
  • Average diesel car CO2 emission factor = 0.26811 kg/mile. Source: UK GOV GHG factors 2020.
  • Average petrol car CO2 emission factor = 0.27943 kg/mile. Source: UK GOV GHG factors 2020.

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