Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen-fuelled buses is in Aberdeen



This CNBC report doesn’t say how many buses but says that the Oil City is home to what is claimed to be Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses.’

The buses hold only 40Kg of hydrogen and have a range of 260 miles. The project cost £19 million and will make a major contribution to improving air quality in the city. I don’t think Aberdeen has ever had a red alert for pollution levels, like London but it’s good they’re working to pre-empt such a situation in the future.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, fuel cell electric vehicles are more efficient than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.

Local passengers have commented favourably on the quiet, comfortable ride and the lack of harmful emissions.

Scotland is, of course, the first country to generate electricity from tide power and store it in hydrogen fuel cells, in Orkney. See:

MAJOR NEWS: World’s first tidal-powered hydrogen generated in Scotland after £3 million funding from SNP Government


I’ve seen the waves on Aberdeenshire’s beaches so hopefully the council will go on to invest in producing its own low-cost supplies too.


14 thoughts on “Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen-fuelled buses is in Aberdeen

  1. Alasdair Macdonald. October 21, 2017 / 5:56 pm

    Although progress is being made on the battery storage of energy generated by renewables, hydrogen has, for a long time, been a known way of storing energy. The transport and storage of gases has been undertaken for well over 100 years. The safely controlled burning of gases has been in our homes for almost as long. The technology has improved as has the safety. Like the electric car, the use of hydrogen as a widely used fuel source has been suppressed by ‘big oil’.

    Given Scotland’s vast renewables potential, increasing hydrogen production could have a substantial multiplier effect on the economy by providing substantial and continuing work for shipbuilding and associated fabrication yards, and these, in turn, could re-grow our steel industry.

    One of the problems with battery storage of energy from renewables is the dependency on ‘rare earths’ which would have to be imported, mainly from China. On the other hand, given the success of our higher education sector in attracting students from China, then there is the potential to develop a sound trading relationship, despite the infamy of Jardine Mathieson in another era. China claims Eric Liddell as its first Olympic Gold Medallist!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. johnrobertson834 October 22, 2017 / 8:33 am

    Once more, Alasdair, your knowledge is wide-ranging. I’m always impressed and informed. Thanks again for your comments. You make a good point about the length of time we could have been using hysrogen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gavin October 22, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    Several years ago, Glasgow and Stanford Universities announced discoveries in splitting hydrogen from water, more quickly and much cheaper. I would hope this comes to fruition, as it was postulated this would be especially useful in remote regions with poor grid connections, but where renewables generated lots of power.
    A hydrogen economy makes sense if it costs a bundle to connect to the grid.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clydebuilt October 22, 2017 / 9:03 pm

      Heard an “expert” on radio Scotland, saying that grid connection charging is going to be looked at soon, he expected high charges for grid connection in Scotland would be reduced.

      Millions have just been spent on a West Coast sub sea connector between Hunterstone and North Wales. To link England to Scottish renewables. Connection charges will have to be affordable for that to work!

      During Indy. Ref. We were told repeatedly England wouldn’t want expensive Scottish renewable Electricity, preferring French Nuclear.

      This was the mother of big lies.

      The West Coast connector was started 2013, and must’ve been in planning for years, and that was after the (political) decision was made to go for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • macgilleleabhar October 22, 2017 / 10:01 pm

        Hi Clydebuilt. I think in comparison with more modern HV DC transmission systems,since inverters are now pretty much off the shelf, the National Grid ‘s power losses would be quite high due to lack of investment. I don’t believe that transmission costs are a major factor though as the same losses would apply with power generated in France getting to Newcastle!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clydebuilt October 23, 2017 / 8:26 am

        MacG…. Good point re power losses France to Newcastle.. . . . Longannet was next door to Edinburgh, central belt etc, but our betters put a high grid connection charge on the station (ignoring emissions debate) why does Scotland’s central belt not count as a major centre of population? Stupid question . . .,.,obviously Scots don’t count Trident is immediately up wind of our central of population.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gavin October 23, 2017 / 10:14 am

        “We were told England wouldn’t want expensive Scottish renewable electricity”—-that is right, it was a big lie, though repeated constantly by the media. At that same time Westminster were entering into an agreement (Green Wire) to produce and export wind energy from the Republic of Ireland to England via Wales. This was blanked by that self same media.
        It must be due to come on stream pretty soon, and wont cost Irish people one brass farthing.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. macgilleleabhar October 22, 2017 / 9:45 pm

    There are 10 hydrogen buses built by the Belgian company Van Hool operating in Aberdeen at the moment fueled by BOC part of the German Linde Group. ( As far as I know nothing to do with chocolates) The Aberdeen Evening Express carried a story on17/03/2017 that the Scottish Government had pledged £3 million to double that number with further finance coming from Aberdeen City Council £2 million. European Commission £2.5 million and Stage Coach and First bus contributing as well.
    Thirteen million Euros of E. U. money is involved as well with EU (Hytransit, Highvlocity projects) heading the original funding list on the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project website.
    This would appear to be a technology who’s time has come and we have the water, wind, tides and will to chase it.. There is little sense in generating giga watts of green energy if it cannot be stored and hydrogen is an excellent carrier of energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Clydebuilt October 23, 2017 / 8:29 am

    O/T. Who / What is behind Collabarative Scotland a John Sturrock was interviewed on BBC’s Scottish radio station. Claim they want to facilitate conversations on difficult subjects such as Brexit help to keep young folk in rural locations etc. To facilitate these conversations whilst not guiding them (my words) Aye right! I believe they have a bus set up for this . Starting today in Dornoch, following on to Wick, Thurso round to Ullapool. Independence wasn’t mentioned, Brexit was
    As the BBC were giving this air time, kind of implies it can’t be pro Independence.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ludo Thierry October 23, 2017 / 12:20 pm

    Hi CB, Hi all – Oddly enough I’m pretty sure that will be a chap I went to school with for a bit. John Sturrock and myself started High School together (although I reckon John might be about a year older than me) and were in the same form class. John was a perfectly nice young kid. He liked football etc. He lived right by the High School in what would be called an ‘aspirationa’l type private housing estate. His father worked for one of the big Scottish banks – forget which – and , maybe part – way through 2nd year, his father got a promotion to assistant manager (or maybe manager?) of a branch (I can’t recall where – I think somewhere a bit rural – maybe Angus? – can’t be sure).

    At early High School he already knew he wanted to qualify in Law. We were a strange bunch of kids and many of us were already politically aware to some high degree – John was definitely a Tory (Heathite Tory) and we used to have good (friendly) arguments about status quo/devo/Indy even back then. John was a clever lad and well-organised (he always had his homework done etc – unlike myself).

    I heard he’d gone to Edinburgh Uni (I went to Glasgow) and – as far as I’m aware – our paths have never crossed since. He was active in the Tory Club (or equivalent) at Edinburgh Uni (I believe maybe chairing it?) – I heard – from other people – that he had become more Thatcherite by then (along with the whole Tory Party). I only have that info from other people however – I cannot confirm it.

    I saw very occasional mentions of his name over the years – he had a wee piece in The Scotsman once re. the Tory Club at Edinburgh Uni I think.

    He became an advocate (possibly a QC – I have no idea). I’m pretty sure he specialised in a scheme to try and get those who were having disputes to sign up to ‘negotiation and arbitration’ outwith the formal Court system. I think I recall a piece which either he had written – or was written about him – doing this ‘arbitration’ type role in one of the Scottish Sunday rags (when I was still daft enough to read the Scottish MSM avidly).

    Next time I noticed his name was right towards the end of the Indyref. Can you recall all the guff being spouted in MSM re. ‘reconcilliation’ and ‘healing the division’ etc? – Well John was involved in that ‘plea’ to the Yes and No camps to ‘come together and heal the divisions’ etc. He was involved in that (rather amusing) arranged Church Service somewhere (might it have been St. Giles?) where various representatives (elected politicians mainly I think) from the Yes and No campaigns went and shook hands outside etc (all complete bollocks – feeding into the narrative of the referendum as ‘The Divided Nation’ rather than the enlightened festival of politics and political engagement that those who were actively involved involved knew it had, actually, been.)

    That is pretty much all I can tell you – John was a clever, perfectly nice young lad (of a Tory persuasion) – and my memories – despite our having very different political outlook (then and now) – are of friendship.

    Ta, Ludo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ludo Thierry October 23, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    Flip CB – you started me wondering more about this Collaborative Scotland outfit. I’d assumed it had died off after the 2014 Indyref – once it had consolidated the myth that ‘reconcilliation’ between the ‘divided nation’ (divided by those pesky Independentistas) was needed. It seems to have been started up again this year – so maybe Indyref 2 is closer than I sometimes fear?

    I had a look at their website – and can’t see who is in charge and who is paying for things. I don’t think I’ll be rushing along to any of their ‘events’ It is described as “Collaborative Scotland, an independent not-for-profit initiative promoting better dialogue in political and other decision-making”, (What in the name of the wee man does that all mean? – Gobbledegook)

    I noticed the description of the meeting and ‘vigil’ prior to Indyref 2014 – those involved look pretty heavily ‘establishment’ operatives to me. I see Andrew Wilson was there – but Andrew is a great one for trying to see the good in everyone isn’t he? (see details below):

    The Day of Dialogue took place exactly two weeks prior to the referendum, to encourage people to reflect on how to handle the lead up to the referendum, and to look ahead to the period afterwards – understanding the need to work collaboratively and with reconciliation in mind. This is not about Yes or No, but about how we live and work together, whatever the outcome.
    A highlight was an early evening video link to William Ury in the US. Ury is a Harvard Professor, international negotiator, adviser to presidents and co-author of the biggest selling book on negotiation, Getting to Yes, and author of one of its follow up texts, The Power of a Positive No. Yes and No?
    Among those also participating in different conversations throughout the day were:
    • Dan Macdonald, chief executive, Macdonald Estates, and founder of N56
    • Josh Littlejohn, social entrepreneur and founder of Social Bite
    • Peter Lederer CBE, Chairman of Gleneagles Hotel
    • Jane Wood, Chief Executive of Scottish Business in the Community
    • Douglas Alexander MP, shadow foreign secretary
    • Andrew Wilson, former SNP MSP and commentator
    • Dr Alison Elliot OBE, chair Land Reform Review Group and Associate Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh
    • David Melding AM, Deputy Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly
    • Conor Murphy MP and former Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
    • Alastair McIntosh, ecologist and writer
    • Rev Richard Frazer, minister of Greyfriars Kirk
    A Midnight Vigil at Greyfriars Kirk concluded the day as we anticipate the transition from September 18 to September 19, whatever the outcome, and commit to continuing with respectful dialogue.

    The new ‘events’ organised this year (2017) included a session on ‘conflict, dialogue and communication in politics’ – I see the access to the Scottish Parlt was hosted by a Tory MSP Margaret Mitchell (see below):

    Leading international mediator Ken Cloke was welcomed to the Scottish Parliament in September for an evening about conflict, dialogue and communication in politics. The event, which was hosted by Margaret Mitchell MSP, discussed the current situation in political life in Scotland and further afield. John Sturrock, founder and chief executive of Core Solutions, introduced Collaborative

    The blurb on the current ‘Tour Bus’ mentions ‘co-sponsors’ (funding?) from various ? ‘establishment’ agencies (in particular the Crown Estates) see below:

    Collaborative Scotland is organising a series of public events and business breakfasts in the north-west of Scotland as part of our Better Conversations Bus Tour.
    Collaborative Scotland is led by Scotland’s leading mediator, John Sturrock QC. The co-sponsors of the bus tour include the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, North Coast 500, Crown Estate Scotland, The University of the Highlands and Islands and the North Highland Initiative.

    Public meetings offer an opportunity to discuss in a safe space the really important issues that concern us all. The Business Breakfasts encourage local businesses and organisations to explore how to reduce or avoid time-consuming and energy-sapping disputes and breakdowns in relationships , with guidance about how to do so effectively. In the confidential sessions, John Sturrock (and colleagues) will be available to talk about topics of difficulty or contention and to offer advice and guidance about how these might be dealt with in a non-confrontational, constructive and forward-looking way. Meetings with John can be in private or in groups.

    Having lost a couple of hours of my life I’m still none the wiser – to me it looks like some kind of Better Together hang-over organisation that is being ramped up again. (Wouldn’t be surprised to see the new Rector of St. Andrews Uni – the dodgy looking “peace activist” bloke turn up as one of their guests in a bit!).

    I won’t be going along to any of their events any time soon. Life’s too short!!

    Ta, ludo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clydebuilt October 23, 2017 / 9:17 pm

      Heroic effort Ludo,

      It’s all Very Tory, crown estate funded, .North Highland Iniative. Business Breakfasts.

      If this is starting up, they must think Indy Ref2 is coming down the tracks, just like Angus Robertson said.

      Liked by 2 people

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