National and Devolved Politics

19.06.19

Aberdeen's green transport fleet attracting international attention

Source: PSE June/July 2019

Aberdeen City Council’s hydrogen spokesperson, councillor Philip Bell, highlights the Granite City’s determination to play a leading role in the fast-developing hydrogen sector.

Aberdeen has enjoyed a rich economic history which includes agriculture, fishing, paper, oil and gas, ship building, textiles and now, as part of its carbon reduction strategy, hydrogen.

The Aberdeen City Region Hydrogen Strategy 2015-2025 was developed as a means of diversifying the local economy, whilst adding to the broad spectrum of energy activities that the city has earned an enviable reputation for.

The hydrogen sector in Aberdeen continued to grow in 2018.  Aberdeen’s demonstration projects and infrastructure development led to many key milestones and achievements being delivered. Hydrogen projects have now established a sound hydrogen sector in Aberdeen, which is attracting investors to the city. 

READ MORE: Tees Valley wins bid to bring hydrogen vehicles and fuelling stations to region

H2 Aberdeen and Invest Aberdeen have worked with the Department for International Trade promoting the hydrogen sector as one of eight energy investment opportunities within the UK.

Aberdeen welcomed visitors from Japan, Taiwan, Norway, the USA and New Zealand, along with hosting visits for various professionals including engineers, private sector industry colleagues and academics. Enquiries for investment have come from India, China and large oil, gas and renewable multinational suppliers currently operating in Aberdeen.

hydrogen refuel iStock-507478082

Hydrogen as an energy vector has one third of the energy density of either petrol or diesel, and to achieve this it must be delivered at either 350bar (5,000 psi) to buses and large vehicles, and 700bar (10,000 psi) to cars, vans and bicycles. A bus with a full tank of ‘gas’ has 40kg of hydrogen on board, is capable of 250 miles range, and can work all day within the city.

Cars require between 4 to 5kg of gas for 300 to 350 miles range, while re-fuelling times are 13 minutes for buses, and four minutes for cars and vans respectively.

Benefits from hydrogen vehicles include significant carbon emissions savings, compared to their internal combustion equivalents, as well as air quality improvements associated with reductions in particulates and nitrogen oxides. In the financial year 2017-18, the Aberdeen bus project used 192,645kg of hydrogen and saved 460 tonnes of carbon dioxide for ‘well-to-wheel’ emissions.

Success has been achieved with key milestones which included Aberdeen City buses exceeding one million miles, representing the most successful hydrogen bus demonstration project in the EU.

READ MORE: Vivarail unveils plans to build new hydrogen trains

2018 saw a 24% increase in the number of hydrogen vehicles in the city, which included the successful trials of a refuse lorry and road sweeper. The Kittybrewster hydrogen refuelling station was opened to the public for car refuelling in 2018, and this is believed to be a first in Scotland.

Aberdeen now boasts two hydrogen refuelling stations that have been made available to the public. Aberdeen’s Co-Wheels car club is also the first in the UK to make hydrogen-fuelled cars available for general hire. Aberdeen’s plans to realise the city as a ‘Hydrogen Valley,’ and a game changer for hydrogen, are shaping-up nicely.

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