Aberdeen is one of Europe’s pioneering hydrogen cities. Through the work of Aberdeen City Council, the city has developed a cluster of hydrogen activity with two publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations (Kittybrewster and ACHES) and one of the largest and most varied fleets of hydrogen vehicles in Europe including buses, cars, vans, road sweepers and waste trucks. The city will be the first deployment location for the world’s first fleet of fuel cell double decker buses from Wright Bus, due to be delivered in Autumn 2020.
H2 Aberdeen is an initiative working to bring about a hydrogen economy in the Aberdeen city region. It seeks to stimulate innovative hydrogen projects and advance the take-up of hydrogen technologies in the city. The overall aim is to position Aberdeen as a centre of excellence for hydrogen technology by utilising the transferable oil and gas expertise and the exceptional capacity for renewable energy generation in North East Scotland. The Aberdeen Hydrogen Strategy was published in 2015 and outlines key actions required over a 10-year period to ensure Aberdeen is a world class energy hub leading a low carbon economy and is at the forefront of hydrogen technology.
Hydrogen is a solution to many of the big issues today: green hydrogen can be used in industry, energy and transport to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution. It can also be used as a storage vehicle for renewables like solar and wind, which can act as a buffer to the grid system ensuring that demand and supply more readily meet. Aberdeen City Council is using its current hydrogen deployment activity to promote nearer term growth opportunities in the region such as working with both public, private and third sector organisations to maximise local benefits whilst also having an eye on the longer term goal of industry diversification.
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Energy Transition and the Hydrogen Hub
Aberdeen City Council is actively delivering an energy transition and has supported the development of a number of renewable projects in and around our city. The level of development in offshore wind off the north east coast, coupled with our hydrogen expertise and the City region’s significant supply chain geared towards oil, gas and low carbon energy solutions means that the City is poised to make a major contribution towards delivering Scotland and the UK’s vision of net zero by 2050. As an indication of Aberdeen’s ambitions in this regard the City Council has just approved a Net Zero Vision and an Infrastructure Plan to support this.
Aberdeen City Council is also currently working with public and private sector stakeholders to develop a commercially viable ‘Hydrogen Hub’ in the city. The key requirement of the hub is to make hydrogen available at a price which makes further deployment of hydrogen vehicles (and other non-transport related demands) economically viable. This will require the stimulation of enough demand to ensure sufficient economies of scale in the production and distribution of hydrogen that its cost reaches parity with diesel. It will also require new business models which link hydrogen production to low cost forms of green energy, preferably offshore wind, to take advantage of hydrogen storage opportunities during periods of wind curtailment.
North East Scotland Fleet Review (Hydrogen Demand)
With funding and support from Interreg Europe Smart HyAware, Opportunity North East and Scottish Enterprise, Aberdeen City Council is working with public and private sector organisations (Aberdeenshire Council, Angus Council, Highland Council, Moray Council, NatureScot, North East Scotland College, NHS Grampian, Robert Gordon University, Royal Mail, Scottish Water and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) to develop fleet procurement strategies and infrastructure plans to identify how hydrogen could help decarbonise our fleets.
Cenex was appointed to undertake a fleet review to establish operational requirements for replacement of diesel vehicles and possible demand for hydrogen across the region. The analysis of the combined vehicle fleet of over 4,000 vehicles shows that 89% of the fleet is compatible with zero emission solutions (EV and hydrogen solutions considered). Whilst this analysis established that Battery EVs could look to address 57% of the fleet, it revealed that hydrogen solutions could be used for the entire fleet, with a subset of 32% that could only be addressed through hydrogen. This would then result in an annual demand for hydrogen of 745 tonnes, 92% of which would come from heavy duty vehicles. This further demonstrates the opportunity that the Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub offers the region for collating demand to kickstart a hydrogen economy.
The delivery of the H2 Aberdeen vision has been championed by the Council’s involvement in UK and Scottish Government initiatives and various European projects.
UK and Scottish Government Initiatives
Aberdeen City Council has been able to access grant funding to procure hydrogen vehicles through Switched on Fleets (Transport Scotland) and the Hydrogen Hub has been awarded funding through the Energy Transition Fund.
European projects Aberdeen City Council is involved in:
HyTrEc2 – Interreg North Sea Region
Aberdeen City Council – Lead Partner
Deliverables: deployment of hydrogen vehicles, green hydrogen production and storage, development of hydrogen refuelling stations and training.
Further information is available here: Linkedin, Twitter
Hector – Interreg North West Europe
Aberdeen City Council – Lead Partner
Deliverables: hydrogen fuel cell waste truck, development of training and operational recommendations, business case for upscaling based on real life operational data.
Further information is available here: Twitter.
JIVE – Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking
Aberdeen City Council – Partner
Deliverables: 15 double-decker hydrogen buses – these will be operated by First.
Aims to promote hydrogen electric mobility by tackling the main infrastructural and technological (range anxiety related) and market uptake barriers related to hydrogen for electro-mobility through the improvement of PI linked to Structural Funds in Europe, addressing the transition to a low carbon economy.
Funding: €179,987.00 (€152,988.95 from the European Regional Development Fund, and €26,998.05 from Opportunity North East and Scottish Enterprise)
Deliverables: update the Hydrogen Strategy with extensive stakeholder engagement and increase awareness of hydrogen potential throughout the city region.
FCCP – Interreg North West Europe
Aberdeen City Council – Partner
Deliverables: six fuel cell pedelecs cargo bikes for last mile delivery.
Aberdeen City Council also participated in the following projects with various objectives:
Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project: FCHJU, HighVLOCity and HyTransit, 2010-2014
Deliverables: Large scale roll-out of 10 hydrogen fuel cell buses from Van Hool (Belgium) operated in Aberdeen between 2014–2019. The buses were operated by both First and Stagecoach. Construction of state of the art Kittybrewster Hydrogen Refuelling Station by BOC. This was Aberdeen and Scotland’s first hydrogen refuelling
HyTrEc – Interreg North Sea Region
Deliverables: Improve access to and advance the adoption of hydrogen as an alternative energy vector across the North Sea Region.
New Bus Fuel – FCH JU
Deliverables: demonstrate that hydrogen refuelling at a large scale is technically and economically viable for serving large hydrogen fuel cell electric bus fleets.
FCH Train – Erasmus
Deliverables: develop a training program for technicians of fuel cell and hydrogen vehicles.
Hyacinth – Hydrogen Europe
Deliverables: raise awareness and improve social acceptance of hydrogen.
Office of Low Emission Vehicles – UK Government
Deliverables: deployment of ten hydrogen Toyota Mirais for use in Aberdeen public sector fleets.