Scotland’s drive for cleaner travel

Fuel Cell Buses
The fleet of 10 First Group and Stagecoach hydrogen fuel cell buses in the Aberdeen project

Two cities are deploying hydrogen fuel cell buses in a project that will bring the operators both economic and sustainable benefits

by Clare Ross

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Two Scottish Cities are part of a European project which has received a $29 million grant to deploy 152 hydrogen fuel cell buses across the continent in bid to decarbonize cities.

The city of Aberdeen already has 10 hydrogen buses from an earlier grant and will get a further 10, while Dundee will get 12 hydrogen buses.

Both cities joined these projects through the Scottish Cities Alliance, which is the collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities and the Scottish Government working to promote the country’s economic potential, underpinned by a commitment to make cities efficient and sustainable, ensuring that the cities meet the increasing aspirations of international investors.

The Alliance works with partners to enable cities to transition successfully to a low carbon future, including tackling climate change, thereby ensuring the future economic prosperity of Scotland.

Through its collaborative approach the Alliance has made significant progress for Scotland in hydrogen technologies, by working with the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU) for the commercialization of hydrogen refueling infrastructure and hydrogen fuel cell buses – Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe (JIVE). These are the most ambitious projects to-date, deploying large scale refueling infrastructure and fuel-cell bus deployment across Europe.

Building on this investment Aberdeen is driving innovation around hydrogen as a viable option for transport as the fleet continues to expand, as well as investigating green hydrogen production and innovative uses for hydrogen such as heat.

Through this work, Scotland is positioning itself as one of Europe’s leading early adopters of hydrogen technology which will help to attract investment into sectors such as manufacturing, engineering and encourage the commercialization of hydrogen technologies over the coming years.

As well as the economic benefits, zero emission hydrogen fuel buses also contribute to the achievement of Scotland’s challenging climate change targets, as well as improving local air quality in our cities.

Further projects of scale within this sector are being scoped to ensure that Scotland continues to be at the forefront of this dynamic technology and supply chain development is a very important part of this scoping.

Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance and Leader of Dundee City Council, John Alexander, said: “Working with the Scottish Cities Alliance, these buses will help cities to improve air quality and therefore public realm.

“The JIVE and JIVE 2 projects will allow a considerable expansion of the European bus fleet. The overall objective of JIVE is to advance the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell buses through large-scale deployment of vehicles and infrastructure so that by the end of the project (early 2020s) hydrogen fuel cell buses are commercially viable for bus operators to include in their fleets.

“We would like to build strong relationships with private sector partners on how we can work together on future projects, so this is the first step in what we hope will be a very positive story for hydrogen bus fleets across Scotland’s cities.”