A leading Aberdeen transport initiative has been shortlisted for a national award

The team behind Aberdeen’s Hydrogen Bus Project have been singled out for a national transport award.

Aberdeen City Council, together with its partner organisations, have been shortlisted by the Scottish Transport Awards in the Transport Team/Partnership of the Year category.

The team brought together a range of funders and partners from the private and public sectors throughout the UK and Europe to deliver Europe’s largest hydrogen bus fleet and the UKs largest hydrogen production and bus refuelling station in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen City Council’s lead member for hydrogen, Councillor Barney Crockett, said: “We are very proud to have been shortlisted for this award – it highlights that the cohesion we have established with all of our partners has led to many successes.

“The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is a very exciting and important initiative which has brought together organisations and facilitated discussions and partnerships between a cross-section of sectors and industry to build business relationships and set the scene for the future development of hydrogen vehicles, deployment, infrastructure, and the development of a supply chain in Scotland and the UK.

“We have set something very important in motion which will have long lasting benefits for industry, as well as for the travelling public.”

In 2013, Aberdeen City Council launched the 2020 strategy framework “A hydrogen Economy for Aberdeen City Region,” to realise the vision to be a world class energy hub leading a low carbon economy.

In that time, Aberdeen has become a leading Hydrogen city and attracted £21million in investment.

With 10 Hydrogen buses in operation, Aberdeen has the largest fleet in Europe and its own hydrogen production and refuelling station, the biggest of its type in the UK.The result is a success story which has seen the green fleet travel the equivalent distance of 10 times around the world, reducing carbon emissions in the city and introducing the travelling public to a new, environmentally friendly form of public transport.

The H2 buses produce no harmful emissions – the only output is water vapour – and it is estimated that over the four years of the project lifetime the buses will save over 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

David Phillips, Managing Director of First Aberdeen, said: "We at First Aberdeen are happy to be a key partner in the ground-breaking Hydrogen project. While the city can be proud of its oil and gas heritage, it's clear the council is working in an innovative way to utilise less traditional forms of technology to deliver for local communities with positive environmental results.

“This project not only delivers better air quality in the city but encourages modal shift and the feedback we have had both our customers and employees alike has been extremely positive.

“The council deserves praise for its efforts and we are delighted to be working in partnership to make the hydrogen project the success that it is proving to be."

In the first year, the fleet has travelled 250,000 miles – the equivalent distance of each bus driving round the world or travelling 25 times to London and back again.

The Van Hool vehicles have carried more than 440,000 passengers on the First X40 Bridge of Don to Kingswells Park and Ride and Stagecoach X17 Guild Street to Westhill Park and Ride route, as well as putting in appearances at a number of high-profile transnational events in the city. That’s an average of 36,700 passengers each month.

Managing Director for Stagecoach North Scotland, Steve Walker said: "We are proud to be a partner in the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project. This project is great news for our customers who are now able to travel on even greener vehicles than before.

“We are committed to reducing the impact of our operations on the environment through a number of measures including alternative fuels, energy efficiency, increased recycling and reduced water consumption and we will continue to work to further reduce our carbon footprint in the months and years to come."

The hydrogen production and refuelling station, which is owned and operated by BOC, a member of the Linde Group, has provided 99.99% availability of the station and has refuelled the vehicles more than 1,600 times.

Dr Hamish Nichol, Innovation Manager for Hydrogen, BOC, said: “BOC is proud to be a key player in the Aberdeen Bus Project. This successful public-private partnership project provides a clear demonstration of the viability of hydrogen as a reliable, carbon-free zero emission fuel.”