The UK’s first hydrogen production and bus refuelling station was officially opened today, as part of a £19m green transport demonstration project.

Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing was joined by BOC’s director of Bulk and Packaged Gases Nathan Palmer and Transport Scotland chief executive David Middleton to open the station, which will fuel Europe’s largest hydrogen bus fleet.

The Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus 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.

It will deliver a hydrogen infrastructure in Aberdeen in 2015, including the production of hydrogen at the UK’s first commercial-scale hydrogen production and bus refuelling station, as well as a purpose-built hydrogen fuel cell vehicle maintenance facility.

The refuelling station, at Aberdeen City Council’s Kittybrewster depot, is owned and operated by BOC, a member of The Linde Group, and has been delivered as part of the Aberdeen City Council-led project which is testing the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies and aims to drive the development of hydrogen technologies.

It will fuel 10 Van Hool hydrogen fuel cell buses – six of which will be operated by Stagecoach on the X17 Aberdeen city centre to Westhill route, while First will operate four on the X40 Kingswells to Bridge of Don park-and-ride route. The buses will only emit water vapour, reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, as well as being quieter and smoother to run than diesel vehicles.

Project partners, funders and guests journeyed by hydrogen bus to the refuelling station, where they were given guided tours, and the technology behind the facility and the buses was explained to them.

City Council Leader, Councillor Laing, said, “As a leading world energy city determined to anchor the renewables industry in the North-east of Scotland, the success of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project is a real coup.”

“We’ve got a lot to be proud of: we not only have Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses running on the streets of Aberdeen, but we also have the UK’s first and largest hydrogen production and bus refuelling station, with plans in place for further hydrogen stations which will be capable of fuelling other vehicles, including cars.”

“We have a very clear Hydrogen Strategy for the future and are on the cusp of realising our aspiration 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 a very important demonstration project which will help to inform the growth and development of hydrogen technologies and the hydrogen industry, as well as a strong hydrogen economy in Aberdeen. The benefits of this project will be felt locally, nationally and internationally.”

Palmer, from BOC, said, “BOC is extremely proud to be part of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project, a ground-breaking demonstration of low carbon public transport in which Aberdeen is setting the standards, not just for Scotland, but also for Europe. This investment is proof of BOC’s commitment, as a member of The Linde Group, to clean energy, and of the value of working in partnership with others who share a vision for a cleaner future.”

“BOC is now ready for its next project on the hydrogen highway. We want to work with other committed partners delivering a step-change in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.”