Skip to main content

European Hydrogen Transit Buses in Scotland

Periodic Report Summary 4 - HYTRANSIT (European Hydrogen Transit Buses in Scotland)

The main project activities in the first three reporting periods (2013-2015) involved design,
construction and deployment of the fuel cell buses and hydrogen refuelling station. Following
a successful mid-term review in March, the fourth period has involved operation of the
technologies, detailed performance assessments and improved dissemination.
The hydrogen refuelling station completed its first full year of operation in 2016, reaching the
3000th refuelling event in autumn and has dispensed over 50,000 kg of hydrogen. The station
has performed exceptionally with 99.99% availability in the first 18 months of operation which
is a significant improvement on the average availability from the CHIC project (97%). Only
minor issues have arisen which rarely result in a bus being unable to refuel. The excellent
performance is due to a combination of factors including design and configuration of the
station, innovative use of Ionic liquid in the compression system, an effective remote
monitoring and diagnoses system, and a planned preventative maintenance regime.
The six fuel cell buses have been operated by Stagecoach on commercial bus routes
throughout 2016. Availability across the fleet was 75% in 2016, showing an improvement on
71% in 2015. The main cause of unavailability has been a few instances of a bus being out of
service for long periods for diagnostics and repair rather than a large number of minor issues.
To improve bus availability, Ballard has introduced a spare parts store in Aberdeen allowing
key spare parts to be stored locally and sourced more quickly. The impact of this change will
inform Stagecoach’s decision to increase operation to 7-day service for the fuel cell buses.
Data collection from the electrolysers, refuelling station and buses has continued in 2016. KPIs
have been shared with the consortium on a monthly basis enabling project partners to
monitor equipment performance and identify areas for improvement. Improving bus fuel
economy and refuelling station energy consumption will be two key focus areas in 2017.
As a flagship city for hydrogen transport activities in the UK, Aberdeen has hosted numerous
hydrogen-related events and the buses are often used to shuttle delegates to and from
locations. To mark the City’s commitments to hydrogen activities, H2 Aberdeen won the
LowCVP’s Low Carbon Road Transport Initiative of the Year. Furthermore, an improved
dissemination strategy was developed in 2016 to establish key messages and target audiences
for knowledge sharing.