Thursday, 23 March 2017

Aberdeen’s hydrogen bus fleet to double after funding grant awarded

Source: Aberdeen City Council, 20th March 2017

The announcement comes after ACC councillors agreed to spend £2.5million on the Joint Initiative Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe (JIVE) project at a Police, Finance and Resources committee meeting in December.

Aberdeen City Council has Europe’s largest fleet of fuel cell buses, along with the UK’s largest hydrogen production and bus refuelling station. The city has become a centre of excellence for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and has been recognised internationally on its achievements so far.

Since operations started 21 months ago, the green transport £21 million Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus project has continued to exceed expectations with the fleet travelling more than 440,000 miles and carrying more than 590,000 passengers on two cross-city routes. The hydrogen production and refuelling station continues to offer 99.99% availability.

The funding announcement came as an international summit on hydrogen transport projects and supply chain is currently being hosted by Aberdeen City Council which has brought together government, industry and key influences for the first time.

The H2 Transport Summit includes speakers such as FCH-JU Executive Director Bart Biebuyck, Innovate UK’s Harsh Pershad and Transport for London’s David York.

The summit has heard the City Council a leading for hydrogen technologies having the first 10 hydrogen buses in Europe, two dedicated hydrogen refuelling stations, and hydrogen-fuelled cars as part of a car club scheme. Aberdeen is also looking wider than transport, with plans for hydrogen training, business diversification, and trials of H2 vehicles for the private sector.

The event has further showcased the economic benefits of hydrogen to the area, and local businesses were invited to attend to further understand the potential for supply chain opportunities which are emerging from this sector.

The summit, which is taking place during European-wide Hydrogen Week, has also brought together bus operators and re-fuelling companies to present study findings of large scale hydrogen re-fuelling.

The funding for the JIVE project aims to commercialise hydrogen fuel cell buses throughout Europe, develop the hydrogen bus fuel cell technology further and take learning from projects delivered and/or underway and bring a new generation of hydrogen fuel cell buses that are more reliable, economical and fuel efficient.

The project will introduce a fleet of 10 new buses that will complement Aberdeen’s existing bus fleet and the intention is that the new fleet will extend the uses of these buses and its infrastructure past the Aberdeen Hydrogen Project’s initial timescales, along with assisting the bus operators in the city to test the technology over the life of a diesel equivalent bus operational life.

A total cost of ownership study and assessment of the performance, reliability and benefits of this generation of hydrogen bus in the current project will be undertaken during the project life.

Aberdeen’s participation in the JIVE project helps support the eventual commercialisation of hydrogen and fuel cell technology in buses. This is an important step as being part of a large bus deployment will reduce capital costs and further develop the manufacturing supply chain. The recently published ‘Road Map for Hydrogen in the UK’ by the UK Government predicts the commercialisation of fuel cell buses will occur in the next five to 10 years.

The hydrogen strategy for the region includes a three-stage implementation plan delivered between 2015 - 2025.

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