Aberdeen fuel cell routes announced

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Stagecoach and First have announced the routes that Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses, 10 Van Hool A330s, will operate in Aberdeen, this following the imminent opening of a refuelling station at Kittybrewster.

The six-strong Stagecoach fleet will operate on the X17 Aberdeen city centre to Westhill route while the four First Aberdeen vehicles will be in operation on the X40 Kingswells to Bridge of Don Park and Ride service. Stagecoach is expected to start first with First following in a few weeks.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “We are entering a really exciting stage of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project, with First and Stagecoach preparing to launch the buses on their services and take a new and exciting form of transport to the Aberdeen public.

“The route announcements are a clear commitment by the companies to bring these buses into public service in the very near future, once they have completed their driver training and the hydrogen refuelling station is fully commissioned, and I am quite sure the travelling public will be as excited as I am to have the opportunity to travel on these buses.

“The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project has created a huge amount of interest not only in Aberdeen, the UK and Europe, but across the world. These buses will not only help us to realise Aberdeen’s aspiration of becoming a world-leading city for low carbon technology, but also to maintain our position as a leading world energy city, while improving the city’s environment and city centre air quality.”

The hydrogen fuel cell buses, manufactured by Van Hool, were brought to the city as part of the £19m Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project, a large-scale demonstration testing the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies. Partners are: Aberdeen City Council; the Scottish Government; Scottish Enterprise; Innovate UK; Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution; BOC; Van Hool; First; Stagecoach; Scotland Gas Networks; and Element Energy.

Funding has come from Scottish, UK and European partners: the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK (£2.4m); Scottish Government (£1.7m); Scottish Enterprise (£1.7m); Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) through the High V.LO-City and HyTransit projects (£8.3m); Aberdeen City Council (£2m); First (£1m); Stagecoach (£1m); Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution £750,000; and Scotland Gas Network £200,000.

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 the 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.