Fuel cell-electric double-decker bus debuts in Aberdeen: The start of the ‘hydrogen economy’? 

Posted: October 7, 2020 by oldbrew in hydrogen, innovation, net zero, News, Travel

Fuel cell bus from Wrightbus

The obvious problem for the imagined ‘hydrogen economy’ is that there isn’t any natural source of hydrogen gas. The viability of using electricity generated only from renewables to convert water into industrial-scale hydrogen supplies is questionable, to put it mildly. Brace for the usual ‘green jobs’ claims having a tendency to be wildly over-optimistic.
– – –
The first zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-electric double-decker bus has arrived in Aberdeen, reports Route One.

Aberdeen City Council (ACC) says the delivery, part of an £8.3m project funded by ACC, the Scottish Government and the European Union Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE) project, underlines the city’s role as the ‘energy capital of Europe’ and its commitment to the transition of green energy in a net zero vision.

Hydrogen offers greater range and faster refuelling while maintaining the efficiency of battery-electric equivalents, the council says.

First Aberdeen is to run the bus on its most popular service routes.

Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader, Counciller Jenny Laing, says: “We are very proud to bring the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker buses to Aberdeen as it shows the city continues to be at the forefront of developing green technologies.

“The roll out of the new double-decker buses will help to cement Aberdeen’s position as an entrepreneurial and technological leader as the new buses come with even more advanced technology which pushes established hydrogen boundaries and greatly assists us in tackling air pollution in the city.”

Wrightbus owner and Executive Chairman Jo Bamford says the Ballymena-based firm is immensely proud to put the world’s first fleet of hydrogen double-deckers into service in Aberdeen.

He says: “These buses represent much more than Aberdeen striving to reach a clean air, zero-carbon future. They represent the start of what could be a world-leading hydrogen economy here in Scotland which will bring with it multi-million pound investments and tens of thousands of jobs.

“Not only do our buses hold the title of being the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell double deckers, they emit only water vapour.

“We hope that more councils across the UK follow Aberdeen City Council’s lead.”

Full report here.

  1. tallbloke says:

    Any answers?

  2. Gamecock says:

    “We are very proud to bring the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker buses to Aberdeen as it shows the city continues to be at the forefront of developing green technologies.”

    They admit the results are POLITICAL. £8.3m so they can crow.

  3. pochas94 says:

    Kimberly, you recycle them, that goes without saying. Platinum is too valuable to lose. The recycling plant has to be considered part of the manufacturing package.

  4. Gamecock says:

    “What do you do with the fuel cells after they are dead?”

    Depends on the type. If using a platinum catalyst, recovery of the platinum is likely worthwhile.

    “What is the research on any negatives affects to human health?”

    There are different types, but none seem particularly onerous. Risk to human health approaches zero.

    “How are they recharged without the use of fossil fuels?”

    Recharged is an odd word. They convert a stream of hydrogen into electricity and water vapor.* The big question is FROM WHERE do they get the hydrogen? They call it a ‘fuel,’ but it is nothing more than a transfer medium. It isn’t known if they’ll get it from methane, or electrolysis. Whatever the process, note that every process results in a further loss of efficiency. I.e., it would likely be more efficient to run a vehicle with methane than to process the methane into hydrogen (plus CO2LOL) and run the vehicle with that.

    *Which is ha ha funny, because WATER VAPOR is the number one green house gas.

  5. oldbrew says:

    A trolleybus can run on the existing electricity system, but needs overhead wires. Add a small battery as a range extender and manouevring option.

    With the development of battery technology in recent years, trolleybuses with extended off-wire capability through on-board batteries are becoming popular. The on-board battery is charged while the vehicle is in motion under the overhead wires and then allows off-wire travel for significant distances, often in excess of 15 km.


    So only parts of trolleybus routes need overhead wires if batteries are on board.

  6. Derek Colman says:

    Hydrogen on an industrial scale is made by reforming methane from natural gas. The products are hydrogen and CO2. The CO2 has no commercial value, so is released into the atmosphere. Hydrogen fuel cells are very inefficient. As a result the use of hydrogen fuel cells causes more CO2 emissions than simply using IC engines burning natural gas. The alternative is electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen using dedicated wind turbines to power the process. Electrolysis is very inefficient, so it is highly likely that any CO2 emissions will be reduced after factoring in the footprint of the required infrastructure, like steel and concrete production and mining of rare earth metals.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Believe it or not…

    6th October, 2020
    Spinach An Excellent Alternative To Platinum In Fuel Cells, Finds New Study

    A recent study has shown that spinach can be converted into carbon nanosheets and then become a catalyst for oxygen-reduction reaction in fuel cells.


    Spinach-Derived Porous Carbon Nanosheets as High-Performance Catalysts for Oxygen Reduction Reaction
    Xiaojun Liu, Casey Culhane, Wenyue Li, and Shouzhong Zou*
    Cite this: ACS Omega 2020, 5, 38, 24367–24378
    Publication Date:September 15, 2020


    OCTOBER 5, 2020
    Spinach: Chemistry experiments show potential to power fuel cells

    “The method we tested can produce highly active, carbon-based catalysts from spinach, which is a renewable biomass. In fact, we believe it outperforms commercial platinum catalysts in both activity and stability. The catalysts are potentially applicable in hydrogen fuel cells and metal-air batteries.”


  8. ivan says:

    I assume this very expensive but inefficient piece of virtue signalling was supposed to be for the UN greenfest that was cancelled because of the Wu-flu.

  9. oldbrew says:

    ivan – maybe, but more likely this one now…

    Glasgow to receive £6.3m for world’s largest fleet of hydrogen powered refuse trucks
    1st October 2020


  10. Graeme No.3 says:

    Why have overhead wires, except at designated stops? These could feed the pantolellogram apparatus while the bus is collecting/discharging passengers.
    A lot less weight than a fuel cell + fuel + fire fighting equipment.

  11. Graeme No.3 says:

    to paraphase a past P.M. in Australia
    “Never stand between a bureaucrat and a chance to waste a big bag of taxpayers money”.

  12. oldbrew says:

    Graeme No.3 says: Why have overhead wires, except at designated stops?
    – – –
    A lot more battery power would be needed, I guess — meaning bigger, heavier more expensive batteries, or shorter routes.

  13. stpaulchuck says:

    wait until the per passenger mile costs get published, and if they don’t you know how bad they are. Oh and watch out for it to be per passenger SEAT mile

  14. pochas94 says:

    Those efficiency calculations won’t seem too important when you’re drinking coffee in a McDonalds for hours while waiting for your battery to recharge, when you could be zipping down the road toward your destination.

  15. Sunface says:

    The Hydrogen thing is another complete scam. Its the same as the Renewable Wind and Solar scam. The same scam as the Covid19 aka contrick19. Simply look at where and when it originated. – DAVOS is what happened .

    In 2017 the globalists of the World Economic Forum, based in Geneva but best known for their annual meeting in Davos, created an offshoot called the Hydrogen Council.

    Like all the scams and schemes have one source- The UN and those who control it. Socialists and corporate conglomerates and international bankers.

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