Hydrogen-powered double-deck buses enter service

Aberdeen's fleet of hydrogen-powered double-deck buses entered service on 28 January 2021.

Europe’s railways aren’t the only public transport operators developing hydrogen power as one way of reducing emissions.

Hydrogen is also being used to power buses, and the world’s first fleet of double-decker hydrogen buses officially launched into service on Thursday, 28 January in Aberdeen.

Although hydrogen buses currently operate in several cities, as the transport industry explores how it can make use of universe’s most abundant element, these double-deckers are reportedly the first of their kind to go into passenger operation.

Run by First Bus – one of Scotland’s largest bus operators – in a project led by Aberdeen City Council, the hydrogen buses represent a major step forward in reducing climate change.

Aberdeen’s hydrogen buses are built by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland.

 Built by UK firm Wrightbus, the zero-emission fleet emits nothing more than water from its exhausts. Furthermore, plans are in place for Aberdeen to make its own hydrogen to power the buses, making it an even greener energy source for the local community.

Cllr Jenny Laing, Aberdeen City Council.

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “It’s great to see the world’s first hydrogen double decker buses starting on their service routes in Aberdeen.

“The buses are a fantastic asset to the city as an entrepreneurial and technological leader as they have even more advanced technology which pushes established hydrogen boundaries and also greatly assist us in tackling air pollution in the city.”

Wrightbus chairman, Jo Bamford, said it was a proud moment to see the buses in full operation for the first time.

Jo Bamford, Wrightbus.

He said: “Everyone at Wrightbus is incredibly proud to see the world’s-first hydrogen double decker bus fleet in full service and carrying passengers around the streets of Aberdeen. It marks a pivotal moment in the city’s commitment to reaching net zero.

“We will see further Wrightbus hydrogen buses in locations across the UK, with fleets due to launch in Birmingham and London later this year. It’s vital that other towns and cities sit up and take note of their example.

“Hydrogen has an important part to play in the decarbonisation of transport and the reduction in CO₂ levels that we need to reach to ensure a net zero future.”

The new 60-seat double-deckers are set to transform the air of the granite city as they save one kilogram of CO₂ with each kilometre they drive. The buses will also tackle more than just air pollution, as they are virtually silent when they run, helping to create quieter, calmer streets.

Hydrogen will play a significant part in the future of the bus industry, as they offer an extremely efficient fuel solution, with great range. The cutting-edge buses also take less than 10 minutes to fully refuel.

The UK’s first hydrogen production and bus refuelling station was opened in Aberdeen in 2015 as part of a £19 million green transport demonstration project. The Aberdeen City Council-led project tested the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies and aims to drive the development of hydrogen technologies.

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