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Aberdeenís hydrogen vans score Scottish first


Two custom-built hydrogen vans have been incorporated into Aberdeen City Council's fleet, marking another renewables first for Europe's leading energy city.

The custom-built Euro5 Ford Transits are the first to be deployed in Scotland, as part of a demonstration project to show that hydrogen is a practical and efficient fuel.

The vehicles were unveiled this morning to two transport study tours visiting Aberdeen as part of the annual North Sea Region Conference. A hydrogen bus and electric car were also displayed outside Marischal College, underlining the council's commitment to renewable energy and low carbon transport.

Council leader Jenny Laing said: "Aberdeen is a leading world energy city with a very clear focus on the future. We are internationally renowned as a centre of expertise in oil and gas and we are determined to also lead the way on hydrogen.

"We have already made great strides on this by working closely with our European partners to develop and test hydrogen technologies, and we continue to do so with a view to securing a renewable source of clean energy which can be used for a variety of purposes, including transport. The development and deployment of hydrogen-powered vehicles is key to furthering the development of hydrogen technology.

"Aberdeen's hydrogen aspirations are high and these demonstration projects help the city not only to make our aspirations realisable, but also to put us in a very good position to secure a strong hydrogen economy in the Granite City.

"I am very pleased to welcome our North Sea Commission partners to the city and to show them a small part of what we have achieved with our hydrogen strategy framework to date."

The vans, which have been converted using Revolve H2ICED technology (dual fuelled internal combustion engine), will not only help to reduce harmful emissions from transport in the city, but also help to promote low emission vehicles across Scotland.

They contain a data-logging USB which records fuel consumption, location and other data which will be used to analyse vehicle performance and will aid the development of the next generation of H2ICED technology.

The vans join Aberdeen's growing fleet of hydrogen vehicles. The city has already secured the world's largest fleet of 10 hydrogen buses as part of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project, which is due to be in public service by late autumn. The council is working to drive the development of hydrogen technologies and secure a hydrogen economy in the city.

Delivered as part of the Hydrogen Transport Economy for the North Sea Region (HyTrEc) project, the hydrogen/diesel hybrid vans have been part-funded by the council and the INTERREG North Sea Programme.

The results of the testing of different hydrogen vehicles will be compared and shared with European partners.

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 hydrogen/diesel hybrids are low emission vehicles, but sound like a diesel vehicle.

H2 Aberdeen 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 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.

Delegates attending the North Sea Conference, which is held jointly by the North Sea Commission and INTERREG North Sea Region Programme, will learn about new European Union funding opportunities which will soon be available from the INTERREG 5B North Sea Region Programme.

The conference is a key date for stakeholders across northern Europe and Norway to meet colleagues from other countries, share experience and knowledge, and develop projects. It will also see the launch of the 2014-2020 North Sea Region Funding Programme.

This new programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will run from 2014-2020, offering grants to projects focused on innovation, low carbon and sustainable transport.