The new £8.3 million project has been funded by Aberdeen City Council, the Scottish Government, and the European Union (FCH JU), with an investment of about £500,000 per vehicle.
It follows the UK’s first hydrogen production and bus refuelling station was opened in Aberdeen in 2015, as part of a £19 million green transport demonstration project. The Aberdeen City Council-led project tested the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies and aims to drive the development of hydrogen technologies.
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “We are very proud to bring the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker buses to Aberdeen as it shows the city continues to be at the forefront of developing green technologies.”
“The roll out of the new double-decker buses will help to cement Aberdeen’s position as an entrepreneurial and technological leader as the new buses come with even more advanced technology which pushes established hydrogen boundaries and greatly assists us in tackling air pollution in the city.”
The buses have been manufactured by Wrightbus based in Northern Ireland - and will complement the existing fleet that the city already boasts including a range of hydrogen and electric vans, road sweepers, and cars through a car share scheme. The buses are said to be as efficient as electric equivalents, with refuelling taking less than 10 minutes and offering a greater range. Water is the only emission from the vehicles which reduces carbon emissions and the new buses continues to contribute to the city’s commitment to tackling air pollution.
Jo Bamford, Wrightbus owner and Executive Chairman, said: “These buses represent much more than Aberdeen striving to reach a clean air, zero-carbon future. They represent the start of what could be a world-leading hydrogen economy here in Scotland which will bring with it multi-million pound investments and tens of thousands of jobs.”
First Aberdeen, part of the multinational company First Group which originated in the city, is to run the 15 buses along one of its most popular service routes and the new vehicles will further underline the city’s role as a pioneer in hydrogen.
The vehicles will be operated by First will be mainly on the Service 19 (Peterculter to Tillydrone) along with other services and is part funded by the European Union’s JIVE project, which aims to aid commercialisation of hydrogen buses through joint procurement between cities. Cities that will follow Aberdeen’s footsteps include London and Birmingham, with Dundee and Brighton and Hove being lead partners in JIVE2, another European Union research project.