Hydrogen-powered buses

Paul Boughton
BOC, the industrial gases and clean energy business, is to provide the refuelling technology for Scotland’s first fleet of hydrogen-powered buses. The project aims to have 10 buses operating on the streets of Aberdeen by 2014.

The hydrogen-powered buses will be operated on First and Stagecoach bus routes in the city by early 2014 and refuelled at Scotland’s first commercial-scale hydrogen refuelling station, which will be owned and operated by BOC. The design of this state-of-the-art station will also allow the refuelling of hydrogen-powered passenger cars as they become available in the future.

A novel aspect of this project is that the hydrogen will be produced by electrolysis. A 1MWe electrolyser provided by BOC will split ordinary water into hydrogen and oxygen. Scottish & Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD) will work with BOC to harness the electricity from a nearby wind farm to power the electrolyser which will also operate in a grid balancing capacity. The hydrogen produced will be stored for use with the bus fleet but can be converted back to electricity to supplement mains supplies at times of peak demand.

Nick Rolf, BOC Innovation Manager for Hydrogen Systems, said: “This will be the UK’s largest demonstration of hydrogen fuel cell buses ... the project will also provide a template for the production of hydrogen from renewable sources on a scale that is unmatched elsewhere in the UK.”

For more information, www.BOConline.co.uk

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