The world’s first hydrogen-powered double deckers were officially launched in Aberdeen today.
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 tomorrow, 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.
But today’s launch marks the first time they have been gone into full operation and will carry passengers.
Council co-leader Jenny Laing said: “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 double decker 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.”
Co-leader 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.”
Aberdeen played a role in the early adoption of hydrogen vehicles, opening a bus refuelling station in 2015.
Part of a previous £19m green transport demonstration project, the Kittybrewster centre was the UK’s first.
It has since opened to the public to allow refuelling of hydrogen cars and vans too, with a second opening in Cove in 2017.
Plans are currently being drawn up for hydrogen production in the city to power the bus fleet.
Managing director at First Bus, Andrew Jarvis, 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.
“First Bus serves thousands of customers in Aberdeen and we know that so many of our customers take the bus because they care about our planet and reducing their carbon footprint.
“We’re excited to now be able to offer them an even greener and quieter way of getting about the city.”