Europe’s largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet was officially launched at the All-Energy 2014 exhibition and conference in Aberdeen this week, marking a major milestone for the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project, in which BOC is a key partner.

The Aberdeen City Council-led bus project, which is being part-funded by the Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, the council, the Scottish Government, as well as a range of other public and private sector partners, will be the largest single demonstration of hydrogen fuel cell buses in Europe.

This project will position Aberdeen as pioneers in zero emission public transport in the UK and provide a pathway to long-term improvements in air quality. It is the most high profile of a range of projects designed to create a sustainable hydrogen economy in the city and act as a catalyst for other projects in the region and beyond.

BOC, a member of The Linde Group and the UK & Ireland’s largest supplier of industrial gases and related equipment, is installing a state-of-the-art hydrogen refuelling station just outside Aberdeen city centre in order to fuel the bus fleet.

The facility will benefit from on-site hydrogen production from water using a 1MW electrolytic system from Hydrogenics, thereby fully de-carbonising the supply chain and removing the need for heavy goods vehicles running through the city. Supporting the electrolysers will be some novel compression and dispensing technology which should significantly reduce the time taken to fuel a bus compared to current technologies. Power for the entire facility will be provided through Aberdeen City Council’s green tariff energy supply.

In addition to providing the hydrogen for the buses, BOC will be working with Scottish and Southern Energy to undertake a series of trials on the electrolysers to better understand the role these systems can play in handling the intermittency of renewable energy and as a grid balancing medium.

As part of the launch at All-Energy 2014, one of the hydrogen-powered buses will be parked outside the conference entrance at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, for people to get a first look at the new fleet. The buses are part of an advanced fleet of four vehicles that have already arrived from Belgian firm Van Hool - a further six vehicles will be delivered later this summer.

Nick Rolf, BOC’s Innovation Manager, Hydrogen systems, commented, “BOC is proud to be playing a key role in this groundbreaking project. Mass transit applications such as bus fleets are one of the early commercial markets for hydrogen. We are confident that this facility with large scale on-site hydrogen production, compression and dispensing capability will be the benchmark for other facilities of this type in the future and represents a significant leap forward towards zero emission transport solutions for the UK.”

Nick Rolf will also be talking about the various clean energy technologies that BOC is looking at including: H2, LNG, biomethane and Enhanced Oil and Gas recovery at a presentation on ‘The H2 strategy for the Aberdeen Region’ during All-Energy. The full presentation starts at 10.30 am in Room 23 on Thursday 22 May. Admission is free.

A 3D model of the hydrogen refuelling station will also be on show at the Aberdeen City Council stand at All-Energy, showing the layout of the station, including the electrolysers, compressors and hydrogen dispensers. Visit stand no AB38 in the Aberdeen City section to see the model and to find out more about the station and the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus project, including the role of BOC and other members of the project consortium.