The world’s first hydrogen-powered double-deckers have been officially launched in Aberdeen.
The project, led by Aberdeen City Council and run by First Bus, is part of the council’s commitment to becoming a net-zero city.
Passengers on First’s number 19 route from Peterculter to Tillydrone will be able to ride on the new cutting edge, zero-emissions buses from today, though they will be used on other services too.
The new 60-seaters are hoped to tackle air pollution in Aberdeen, saving a kilogram (2.20lbs) of CO2 every kilometre (0.62 miles) they are driven.
They also run “virtually silently”, a council spokeswoman said, and take 10 minutes to refuel.
Each vehicle cost around £500,000, as part of a £8.3million city council project funded also by the European Union and Scottish Government.
A small number of the high tech double-decker buses, which produce only water, were used in a pilot in the Granite City late last year.
Aberdeen City Council co-leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “We have plans to turn Aberdeen into a net-zero city. The new double-decker buses show that forward-thinking, we want to do it right when it comes to tackling climate change.”
Aberdeen City Council co-leader Councillor Jenny Laing added: “We are delighted to be launching the world’s first hydrogen double-decker bus fleet onto the streets of Aberdeen.
“Aberdeen is one of Europe’s pioneering hydrogen cities and through the work of Aberdeen City Council, the city has developed a cluster of hydrogen activity and the new 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.”
The fleet of buses at First depot on King StreetAndrew Jarvis, managing director at First Bus, said: “For the first project we had four hydrogen single-deckers but they were more like a European bus and they were long and a bit unwieldy, and only had 40 seats, they were early prototypes.
“Things have moved on, the costs have come down.
“Customers should notice a quieter ride as there’s no gearbox. Passers-by will notice they’re much quieter going past as well.
“Fifteen vehicles is a good proportion of our fleet – 10% in Aberdeen. There are less emissions, and less carbon going into the atmosphere. I think it’s good all round.”