North-east Scottish city Aberdeen recently launched the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell double-decker bus on its streets. The bus is part of the EU-funded JIVE project mission to deploy 139 zero-emission buses and refuelling stations in 5 European countries. “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,” stated Councillor Jenny Laing of project partner Aberdeen City Council in a press release published on the ‘Fuel Cell Electric Buses’ website. “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,” observed Laing. Councillor Douglas Lumsden, who is co-leader of Aberdeen City Council together with Laing, commented: “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.”
How the technology works
A multi-cylinder system is used to store low-pressure hydrogen at the back of the bus. The hydrogen feeds an on-board fuel cell that generates an electric current. The electric current in turn charges a battery pack located underneath the floor of the bus, which is propelled by a compact electric motor that draws energy from the battery.
Advantages of hydrogen buses
Hydrogen buses represent varied benefits for the environment and its people. Their range is comparable to petrol- or diesel-powered buses, but they don’t pollute the air with harmful emissions. For example, for every kilometre that Aberdeen’s new 60-seater double-decker buses travel, they save 1 kg of CO2. Hydrogen buses are also quieter, therefore generating less noise pollution. With their regenerative braking system, energy is recycled back to the battery, an advantage when the bus is accelerating or going up an incline. Furthermore, refuelling a hydrogen bus takes less than 10 minutes, unlike electric vehicles, which take hours to be fully recharged. Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director of Scotland’s largest bus operator, First Bus, described the Aberdeen launch as “a significant milestone in our industry and the way that people choose to travel.” Then referring to the United Nations Climate Change Conference being hosted by Scotland in late 2021, he remarked: “It is fantastic to know that we will be setting a stellar example of just what can be achieved with new technology as we welcome leaders from around the world.” JIVE (Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe) is the first of two related fuel cell bus projects contributing to a net zero future. Together with the JIVE 2 project that began a year later (in 2018), the aim is to roll out close to 300 fuel cell buses in 22 European cities by the early 2020s. The two projects are supported by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership. For more information, please see: JIVE web page
JIVE, JIVE 2, hydrogen, bus, Aberdeen, fuel cell, zero emission, double-decker