The world’s first double-decker bus powered by hydrogen fuel has been unveiled in the Scottish city of Aberdeen, The Engineer reports.
The city opened the country’s first hydrogen production and bus refuelling station back in 2015 in a £19-million (R410-million) green transport demonstration project.
The bus is one of 15 built by Wrightbus in Northern Island, which will run on several of the city’s popular service routes from November.
This is partially funded by the European Union’s Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE) project, which is targeting the commercialisation of hydrogen buses on the continent.
Hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth and was used to power the first internal combustion engines as far back as 1807.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles employ fuel cells with hydrogen and oxygen that produce electricity and heat, with water vapour being the byproduct.
Many manufacturers – including Toyota – are currently looking into or developing the technology in their vehicles, although a major challenge to its adoption is the availability of infrastructure to support hydrogen refuelling.
One popular example of a hydrogen-powered car is the Toyota Mirai.
Advocates for hydrogen fuel argue that the technology is better for the environment than vehicles powered by electric batteries, as the latter still requires a significant amount of emissions for the production and charging of its lithium-ion batteries.
Below is a video of the unveiling of the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker buses.
Electric vehicle boom
Electrically-powered vehicles are far more popular than hydrogen cars, however, and are seeing growing adoption in Europe.
According to clean transport lobby group Transport and Environment (T&E), electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid sales are expected to triple year-on-year to make up 10% of all automobile sales in Europe by the end of 2020.
T&E director Greg Archer said the surge in was thanks to emission standards set out by the EU.
According to EU laws, car manufacturers are required to reduce their average vehicle emissions or risk significant fines.
Analysis from T&E showed that they have managed to achieve this, with an average of 111g/km CO2 emitted by July, down from 122g/km in 2019.
The organisation estimated one in every seven cars sold in Europe will be a fully electric or plug-in hybrid in 2021.
Numerous manufacturers are investing heavily in electric battery technology and will be delivering several models of their own in the coming years.
Volkswagen aims to sell electric vehicles in South Africa in 2022 and has already launched an e-Golf pilot project to test six of its fully-electric vehicles in Gauteng and the Western Cape.