Transport history was made in Aberdeen as the city took delivery of the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker bus
Part of the Granite City’s trailblazing hydrogen transport scheme, the first of a new fleet of vehicles, was delivered to First Aberdeen’s depot this morning.
It will be conducting final testing in the city in the coming weeks ahead of being launched for passengers next month.
Part of Aberdeen City Council’s Net Zero Vision – its commitment to transitioning towards green energy from oil and gas – the buses have been manufactured by Wrightbus and complement a fleet of hydrogen or electric cars, vans and road sweepers already in service.
The new fleet comes at a cost of around £8.3 million.
Local authority co-leader 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 rollout 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.
“We look forward to seeing the new hydrogen double-deckers being tested around the streets of Aberdeen over the next few weeks before they come into service.”
The first phase of the hydrogen bus project was hailed after it came to an end last year.
It included the construction of the UK’s first hydrogen production and bus refuelling station as part of a £19 million project.
Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said: “It is fantastic to see the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker bus arrive in Aberdeen and they further show our commitment to achieving net-zero.
“By leveraging our unique assets and capabilities, we will help lead the world on the rapid shift to a net-zero future and support the global energy transition as a climate positive city.
“We are responding, as a city and place, to the environmental imperative and also our role as a world leader in the energy sector as an economic driver for the city, region, Scotland and the UK.”
Jo Bamford, owner and executive director of Wrightbus, said: “We’re immensely proud to be putting the world’s first fleet of hydrogen double-deckers onto the streets of Aberdeen.
“And 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.
“Not only do our buses hold the title of being the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell double-deckers, they emit only water vapour.
“We hope that more councils across the UK follow Aberdeen City Council’s lead.”
The fleet of 15 double-deckers will be operated by First Aberdeen – mainly on route number 19 between Tillydrone and Peterculter.
David Phillips, operations director for First Aberdeen, said: “We are delighted to be operating these state-of-the-art double-decker hydrogen buses in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and we are thrilled to share a sneak peek of them with the public today.
“We look forward to rolling them out to the people of Aberdeen later this month and it is exciting to play a part in the latest leg of the city’s hydrogen journey.
“First Aberdeen is committed to working with local stakeholders to accelerate our driver for a zero-emission fleet across our entire network by 2035 and we are excited to see the impact these buses will have.”
The arrival of the new fleet has also been welcomed by Scottish Government energy minister Paul Wheelhouse.
He said: “I warmly welcome the deployment of the very latest generation of zero-emission hydrogen buses in the city – building on Aberdeen’s already-impressive record of achievements as a pioneer in the use of hydrogen transport solutions.
“Our funding contribution of £3 million towards this new fleet is evidence of our commitment to decarbonising transport, as a key element of Scotland’s journey to net-zero carbon, with potential economic benefits for the north-east and right across the remainder of Scotland.”