In 2013, the Scottish Cities Alliance commissioned leading energy consultants to carry out research into ‘Kick Starting a Hydrogen Economy Across Scottish Cities’.  A Strategy was formed and out of the 12 recommendations, 4 were taken forward by the cities:

  • Large scale deployment of hydrogen fuel cell electric buses
  • Deployment of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure
  • Green hydrogen to be derived from a renewable source such as wind or solar
  • Decarbonising of the cities’ captive fleets utilising hydrogen fuel cell technologies – particularly focused on heavy fleet vehicles

Hydrogen Refuelling and Fuel Cell Electric Buses

On behalf of Scottish Cities the Hydrogen Project Lead led the most ambitious pan-European project across European Cities – Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe, to commercialise hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and refuelling infrastructure in partnership with the EU Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.  2 Scottish cities are participating – Aberdeen (JIVE) and Dundee (JIVE2). 

Aberdeen has deployed 15 of circa. 25 buses in the city making the Aberdeen fleet the first in the world to include double decker fuel cell electric buses.

Dundee will be deploying 12 Optare/Arcola Energy fuel cell electric buses in late 2021 with refuelling infrastructure to be deployed at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc.  This hydrogen refuelling infrastructure will also support Project LOCATE – powertrain test facilities – which will be based on the MSIP site.

Heavy Fleet Vehicles

Glasgow has set their ambitions to be the first Net Zero City in the UK with the complete decarbonisation of Glasgow’s captive fleet of circa 2,000 vehicles with heavy fleet vehicles being replaced by hydrogen fuel cell electric.

This led to the development of a prototype fuel cell refuse collection vehicle by Arcola Energy (Systems Integration company) in partnership with Farid Hillend.  In addition, hydrogen refuelling infrastructure based at Glasgow City Council’s energy from waste plant in Polmadie.  This is seen as a strategic site as it can enable the refuelling of other organisations, as it has open access for refuelling.

In addition, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Scottish Power Renewables, BOC/Linde and ITM Power for the development of a 10MW electrolyser to be based at Scottish Power’s Whitelee Wind Farm (the largest onshore windfarm in the UK and the second largest in Europe).  This can provide the refuelling infrastructure that is required across the region and support the development of other sectors such as freight, trains and ferries as the west side of the country, in particular, will not be electrified providing the opportunity for fuel cell electric technology deployments.   Equally there is an opportunity on the East coast from Aberdeen up to Inverness and beyond.

Hydrogen Accelerator

In the Scottish Government’s 2019 Programme for Government there was a commitment to establish a Hydrogen Accelerator to expediate the uptake of hydrogen technologies in Scotland.  The Hydrogen Accelerator was launched  in July 2020, and is hosted by the University of St Andrews in partnership with the University of Strathclyde to support the co-ordination of hydrogen projects across the various sectors – public/private, research and academia whilst attracting inward investment, skills development and the creation of green jobs ensuring a just transition to a new green economy in Scotland.

Projects currently underway include:

  • LOCATE – powertrain test facilities at MSIP in partnership with Transport Scotland LCED/Scottish Enterprise
  • Fuel Cell Electric Train Phase 2 in partnership with Transport Scotland Rail/Scottish Enterprise
  • Technical Analysis – Dundee Hydrogen Bus Deployment Project
  • Heavy Duty Fleet Deployments in partnership with Transport Scotland LCED/Scottish Enterprise
  • Hydrogen Refuelling Infrastructure Deployment Across Scotland/Procurement

For further information on the work of the Hydrogen Accelerator please contact Fiona Landy, Delivery Manager fl67@st-andrews.ac.uk

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