Hydrogen buses on show for first time at All-Energy
Europe's largest fleet of hydrogen buses will be revealed to the public for the first time during the UK's biggest renewable energy event, which gets underway in Aberdeen today [Wednesday, 21 May].
The £20million Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project will be in the spotlight during All-Energy, when part of the new fleet will be on display at the entrance to the conference.
Aberdeen City Council's convener of Enterprise, Strategic Planning and Infrastructure, Councillor Barney Crockett, will officially launch the demonstration project. The launch will be attended by
project partners and Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism.
The city council is taking delivery of 10 hydrogen vehicles from Belgian firm Van Hool, as part of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project. Delegates attending the All-Energy conference will be able to board a vehicle and meet with project partners and suppliers.
The Aberdeen City Council-led 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.
It will deliver a hydrogen infrastructure in Aberdeen in 2014. This will include the production of hydrogen from a 1MW electrolyser and establishing Scotland's first commercial scale hydrogen refuelling system, which will include hydrogen production through electrolysis, in partnership with BOC.
Enterprise, Strategic Planning and Infrastructure convener Barney Crockett said: "The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project has created a huge amount in interest not only in Aberdeen, the UK and Europe, but across the world.
"We will soon have Europe's largest fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses running on Aberdeen's streets and I think it is really fitting that we are able to show these vehicles off at All-Energy and show members of the public what they have been waiting so patiently to see."
Councillor Crockett added: "These buses will not only help us to realise Aberdeen's aspiration of becoming a world-leading city for low carbon technology, but also of maintaining our position as a leading world energy city.
"The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is an important demonstration project which will help to inform the growth and development of hydrogen technologies and the hydrogen industry, as well as a strong hydrogen economy in Aberdeen. It will have significant benefits locally, nationally and internationally.
"There is a great deal of interest in what we are doing here and a strong focus on how that can be replicated elsewhere. We are learning as we go, which brings the additional benefit of building expertise as we progress, placing Aberdeen in a strong position to be a European centre of excellence in hydrogen technology."
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "The Scottish Government is pleased to be a partner in this project, which aligns with our vision for both decarbonising the road transport sector, and finding innovative ways to make the most of Scotland's vast energy wealth.
"We recognise that hydrogen could be an important 'bridge' between Scotland's enormous renewable energy potential and our sustainable transport objectives.
"The project will be a showcase for the potential of hydrogen, not only in buses and other vehicle fleets, but for the wider benefits of electrolysers, energy storage, and fuel cells."
The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is a large-scale demonstration project, led by Aberdeen City Council. It is testing the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies and aims to drive the development of hydrogen technologies.
The project has been co-funded by Scottish, UK and European partners: the UK's innovation agency, Technology Strategy Board (£2.4million); Scottish Government (£1.7 million); Scottish Enterprise (£1.7million); European Union Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) through the High V.LO-City and HyTransit projects (£8.3million).
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 vehicles will be operated by First Aberdeen and Stagecoach and will be in use on routes across the city by the end of the year. Because this hydrogen technology is so new, a considerable amount of education and learning must be carried out before the buses start carrying passengers. The arrival of the buses was planned in advance of the hydrogen production and re-fuelling facility completion to ensure driver training, technician training and other operational planning can be completed prior to passenger operations commencing.
Bert De Colvenaer, executive director of the European Union Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, said: "The FCH JU is very pleased to see the commitment of Scotland and Aberdeen as a pioneer in fuel cell and hydrogen for public transport bus applications and as a cornerstone for future self-reliance in energy provision; just in the same was they were committed in the past for fossil fuels."
Stagecoach North Scotland managing director Steve Walker said: "Stagecoach North Scotland managing director Steve Walker said: "Sustainability is at the heart of our business and we are proud to be involved in the introduction of hydrogen buses in Aberdeen which will help to further reduce the impact of our operations on the environment.
"The project will help ensure a cleaner, greener environment for people living and working in the city. We already provide greener, smarter bus travel for thousands of local people every single day and we look forward to attracting even more people out of their cars and on to public transport in the future."
First Aberdeen managing director Duncan Cameron said: "This is an exciting, ground-breaking project which we are delighted and proud to be a part of. The buses look first class and our testing is progressing well. We're looking forward to welcoming customers on board.
"Over the last 18 months we've improved our services and as a result we are now attracting 1,000 more customers a day and helping to ease the city's congestion problems. The introduction of hydrogen vehicles complements our passenger growth strategy and I'm very confident will attract new users to bus travel."
Van Hool chief executive officer Filip Van Hool said: "Our company is proud to be associated with the Aberdeen H2 project. Van Hool believes the buses are the next step to zero emission urban transport, making use of renewable wind power in the on-site production of green hydrogen. We are looking forward to a successful project and the start of a long-term cooperation."
The vehicles will be refuelled at Scotland's first large hydrogen refuelling station, at the council's Kittybrewster depot. Further refuelling stations are proposed across the city as the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project evolves.
The project is part of the H2 Aberdeen initiative, which 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 (Hydrogen Transport Economy) transnational 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.
The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project partners are: Aberdeen City Council; Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG); the Scottish Government; Scottish Enterprise; Technology Strategy Board; Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution; BOC; Van Hool; First; Stagecoach; Scotland Gas Networks; and Element Energy.