Aberdeen will become the first city in the world to introduce hydrogen-powered double-decker buses.
The city already operates single- decker vehicles, fuelled by the emerging technology, which proponents say is cleaner than traditional fossil fuels.
A new contract was signed this month to deliver 15 city buses with the project funded by Aberdeen City Council, European Union (FCH JU) and the Scottish Government with an investment of about half a million pounds per vehicle.
The vehicles will be operated by First on the 19 (Culter to Tillydrone) route.
Cities that will follow in Aberdeen’s footsteps include London and Birmingham, with Dundee and Brighton and Hove being lead partners in the project.
Launching later this year, the buses are more efficient than electric equivalents, with refuelling taking less than 10 minutes and offering a greater range.
The buses have been produced by a UK-based company – Wrightbus based in Northern Ireland – and will complement the existing fleet in the city of 10 buses as well as a range of vans and cars.
Council hydrogen spokesman Philip Bell said: “Aberdeen appears to be pushing boundaries with an innovative approach when it comes to hydrogen and the entrepreneurial and technological leadership puts Aberdeen on the global map.
“Striving to tackle air pollution, these additional buses highlight Aberdeen City Council’s commitment and ambition as a ‘centre for excellence’ for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.”
David Phillips, operations director for First Aberdeen, said: “We are delighted to be the first bus company to operate these unique new Wrightbus hydrogen-powered double-decker buses for the city of Aberdeen.
“It is a pleasure to continue our partnership with Aberdeen City Council on this innovative project and we applaud the council in its continued support of the hydrogen bus technology. We look forward to operating these new vehicles.”
Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “The Scottish Government has supported a number of major projects which demonstrate the use of hydrogen.
“This important investment will help the city achieve its decarbonisation ambitions and further cement its reputation for innovation and technology.”
David Barnett, business development director for Wrightbus, said: “The vehicle offers pioneering cities, like Aberdeen, the opportunity to replace diesel buses with zero emission buses on a one-to-one basis.”