World’s first hydrogen double-deckers launched officially in Aberdeen

The world's first fleet of double-decker hydrogen buses officially launched into service in Aberdeen.

Run by First Bus in a project led by Aberdeen City Council, the 15 hydrogen buses are said to represent a major step forward in reducing climate change. The zero-emission fleet emits nothing more than water, as production of hydrogen is powered by electricity generated by wind turbines. The hydrogen is turned into electricity within an on-board fuel cell.

While prototype hydrogen buses have been designed and used previously, these 60-seat double-deckers built by Wrightbus are the first of their kind to go into operation.

The double-deckers are said to save one kilogramme of CO2 with each kilometre they drive, compared to diesel Euro IV engine buses that have a fuel economy of 6.82mpg. The buses will also tackle more than just air pollution, as they are virtually silent when they run. The vehicles will be operated mainly on the Service 19 (Peterculter to Tillydrone) along with other services.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “It is fantastic to see the world’s first hydrogen-powered double decker buses being driven about and used by residents of Aberdeen. The buses show our commitment to achieving net zero and support the global energy transition as a climate positive city while cementing our position as a world leader in the energy sector as an economic driver for the city, region, Scotland and the UK.”

The new £8.3million 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.

The project 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.

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.

Andrew Jarvis, managing director at First Bus, said: "Today marks a significant milestone in our industry and the way that people choose to travel. Scotland will be home to COP26 later this year and it is fantastic to know that we'll be setting a stellar example of just what can be achieved with new technology as we welcome leaders from around the world.”

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