The UK's first fully integrated hydrogen production and refuelling station specifically designed to service Europe's largest fleet of hydrogen powered buses is to be built in Aberdeen.
Civil engineering works for the facility, which will also be Scotland's first commercial-scale hydrogen refuelling station, are under way at Aberdeen City Council's Kittybrewster depot.
CHAP construction has been appointed to carry out the works as part of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project, marking another significant milestone in the project.
The Aberdeen City Council-led demonstration project, which has backing from Europe, the UK Government and the Scottish Government, as well as a broad range of private sector partners, is the most high-profile of a range of projects designed to create a hydrogen economy in the city.
Council leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: "This is a very important milestone, not only for the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project, but also for the city in bringing us a significant step closer towards realising Aberdeen's aspirations of becoming a world-leading city for low carbon technology, while maintaining our position as a leading world energy city.
"The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is an important demonstration project which is helping to inform the growth and development of hydrogen technologies and the hydrogen industry, as well as a strong hydrogen economy in Aberdeen. It will have significant benefits locally, nationally and internationally.
"We are experiencing a great deal of interest in what we are doing here and there is a strong focus on how that can be replicated elsewhere. We are learning as we go, which brings the additional benefit of building expertise as we progress, placing Aberdeen in a strong position to be a European centre of excellence in hydrogen technology."
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "The start of the construction work on the refuelling station marks a significant milestone for the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project. Our support for this innovative project demonstrates our commitment to decarbonising Scotland's road transport sector by 2050, with hydrogen fuel cell powered electric vehicles likely to be an important element of a more sustainable future transport system.
"The arrival of hydrogen buses in Aberdeen will not only mean cleaner, healthier air for the city and contribute to Scotland's climate change efforts, but the change to low carbon vehicles also offers long term economic opportunities to businesses across Scotland."
The bus project will deliver a hydrogen infrastructure in Aberdeen. This will include the production of hydrogen from a 1MW electrolyser in the new facility at Kittybrewster and the establishment of Scotland's first commercial scale hydrogen refuelling system, which will include hydrogen production through electrolysis, in partnership with BOC.
BOC Innovation Manager for Hydrogen Systems, Nick Rolf said: "BOC is extremely proud to be installing, owning and operating this state of the art bus refuelling station and hope it will serve as a catalyst for other Cities to follow suit across the Scotland and beyond."
CHAP director Derek Fisher said: "We at CHAP civil engineering are very pleased to be associated with the Hydrogen Bus project in Kittybrewster for the city council, both in terms of our continued expansion and involvement in new and exciting environmental projects, and with the opportunity to gain experience in new technology by working with new partners in a specialist environment."
Works are due for completion later this year.
The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is a large-scale demonstration project, led by Aberdeen City Council. It is testing the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies and aims to drive the development of hydrogen technologies.
The project is part of the H2 Aberdeen initiative, which provides the opportunity to create a new industry and greater choice in energy production and usage, as well as enabling the development of a hydrogen strategy for the Energetica Development Corridor.
Aberdeen City Council is also participating in the HyTrEc (Hydrogen Transport Economy) transnational project which involves: working with EU partners around North Sea to facilitate transnational co-operation and learning; enhancing the competitiveness of the North Sea Region in hydrogen development; and providing a platform for joined-up working towards a hydrogen strategy across the North Sea region.
As well as the benefits to the transport sector, hydrogen has a potentially vital role in the broader energy storage system – if it is generated from intermittent renewable electricity sources, such as wind turbines, it can be stored and used for a variety of purposes, including injection into the natural gas grid, and used to generate electricity at times of peak demand.