Run by First Bus – Scotland’s largest bus operator – in a project led by Aberdeen City Council, the world’s first fleet of double decker hydrogen buses represent a major step forward in reducing climate change. This launch also underlines the Aberdeen’s role as the energy capital of Europe and shows its commitment to green energy as part of the city’s Net Zero Vision. In addition, 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 new £8.3million project is part of the European Union’s JIVE grant, which aims to aid commercialization of hydrogen buses through joint procurement between cities and funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU). Manufactured by Wrightbus, the vehicles will be operated mainly on the Service 19 (Peterculter to Tillydrone).
“Aberdeen is one of Europe’s pioneering hydrogen cities and through the work of the city council, it has developed a cluster of hydrogen activity and the new double decker buses are a great addition to one of the largest and most varied fleets of hydrogen vehicles in Europe. They have even more advanced technology which pushes established hydrogen boundaries and will greatly assist us in tackling air pollution in the city,” said Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councilor Jenny Laing.
The new 60-seat double-deckers, which take less than 10 minutes to fully refuel, are set to transform the air of the city as they save one kilogram of CO2 with each kilometer they drive. The buses will also tackle more than just air pollution, as they are virtually silent helping to create quieter streets. While prototype hydrogen buses were designed and used previously, these double deckers are the first of their kind to go into commercial operation.
Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director at First Bus, said: “Today marks a significant milestone in our industry and the way that people choose to travel. 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.”
Wrightbus chairman, Jo Bamford, also commented: “Everyone at Wrightbus is incredibly proud to see the world’s first hydrogen double decker bus fleet in full service and carrying passengers around the streets of Aberdeen. It marks a pivotal moment in the city’s commitment to reaching net zero. We will see further Wrightbus hydrogen buses in locations across the UK, with fleets due to launch in Birmingham and London later this year. It’s vital that other towns and cities sit up and take note of their example.”
The buses have a bespoke hydrogen fuel system from Luxfer Gas Cylinders. The system for the 15-strong fleet features Luxfer’s G-Stor™ H2 cylinders. “The hydrogen economy is now taking off, but it’s an area we’ve worked in for three decades. Luxfer has pioneered hydrogen storage systems and valve technology, and we were brought into this project by Wrightbus in 2017 to help design how the hydrogen system could work to deliver the best range, in a cost effective solution,” added Mark Lawday, Director of Luxfer Gas Cylinders.
Source: Aberdeen City Council/Luxfer Gas Cylinders