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Offer of 1.2million EU funding to introduce 100 hydrogen buses to Scotland for study


A potential opportunity to develop of a Scotland-wide fleet of 100 hydrogen buses has been raised by the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (EFCH JU).

Executive director Bert Colvanaer and project manager Carlos Navas who visited the city. Executive director Bert Colvanaer and project manager Carlos Navas visited the Granite City to meet with Aberdeen City Council, partners from the Scottish Cities Alliance, and key stakeholders in the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project, to discuss the opportunity of using EU funds to develop the fleet across Scottish cities as part of a commercialisation study.

They presented the findings of their study, Urban Buses: Alternative Powertrains for Europe, which examined the potential advantages and outlook for zero local-emission buses, with the aim of providing a fact-based and objective evaluation of their sustainability, performance and economics, to the meeting.

The EFCH JU, a public-private partnership which aims to accelerate the development and market deployment of hydrogen technologies, financially supported that study and is now looking towards carrying out a second phase.

Mr Colvanaer and Mr Navas have invited members of the Seven Cities Alliance and transport operators to work with their organisation on the second phase of a study, funded by the EU, which would develop a large-scale deployment of hydrogen buses in Scotland and refuelling stations.

Mr Colvanaer said the overall estimated budget for the new study which will cover European regions, possibly including Scotland, is in the region of €122million, which does not require match funding. Industrial partners would also be sought for the study, which would contribute to the EU's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the middle of the century.

Aberdeen has been identified by the EFCH JU due to the ongoing hydrogen work in the city to date, which has seen it emerge as a leading EU city.

The Enterprise, Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee unanimously agreed that the authority should participate in and lead on the bus feasibility study with the Seven Cities Alliance. The committee also agreed that Aberdeen City Council should develop and lead a transnational consortium with partners which have already expressed an interest in the study, should the Seven Cities Alliance reject it.

Council leader Barney Crockett said: "Aberdeen is fast becoming a leading light in the hydrogen industry and is quickly gaining recognition for the work the city has carried out so far.

"Aberdeen City Council has set out its vision to secure the city's future as a world-class energy hub leading a low carbon economy, and at the forefront of hydrogen technology in Europe by 2020.

"We are working with public, private and academic partners to develop a strategy for the city region's hydrogen economy, starting with developing detailed action plans, and our ambitions and capability have clearly been recognised by the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking."

Councillor Crockett added: "The organisation's proposed feasibility study presents some very attractive and exciting opportunities for Aberdeen and I am confident that it will help to further our ambitions for hydrogen and renewables."

Aberdeen City Council is leading on the hydrogen workstream in Scotland and has commissioned work to develop a Scottish Cities Strategy for the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell technology across the seven cities, as well as a detailed policy paper identifying the economic benefits of the cities collaborating to deliver hydrogen technology projects.