SCOTLAND is driving the green fuel revolution with a push towards hydrogen refuelling hubs for buses, commercial vehicles and cars.

However, Mark Griffin, of BOC, the Guildford-headquartered gases company that operates the highest performing hydrogen bus refuelling station in Europe in Aberdeen, said councils and central government needed to act quickly.

He said they must fast-track deployment of infrastructure hand in hand with commerce to roll out new facilities to help meet 2030 zero carbon-neutral targets, such as those in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Mr Griffin added that plans to convert vehicles at scale will reduce costs.

Glasgow City Council is expected to receive its first hydrogen vehicles this year, bolstered by an £800,000 Transport Scotland grant. The authority aims to convert its entire fleet of 2,000 vehicles to green energy as, according to its transport strategy, which it describes it as “the only realistic and genuinely emissions-free sustainable fuel solution is hydrogen”.

READ MORE: Edinburgh firm to build hydrogen bus fuelling station

On the outskirts of Edinburgh, at Wallyford, Logan Energy has opened the first public hydrogen refuelling station in Scotland’s central belt for hydrogen-electric and dual-fuel vehicles.

The company led by chief executive Bill Ireland is working with strategic partners to make its base a “centre of excellence” for hydrogen technology integration and safety. As part of its mission, Logan Energy is developing plans to produce green hydrogen through electrolysis powered by solar power there.

Mr Griffin, hydrogen supremo at the gases giant, said the country’s carbon-neutral target dates are “not far away, particularly when some vehicle mechanisms like trains have a 35-year life. So the changes need to made now, if not yesterday”.

READ MORE: Small Scottish carbon capture company’s work in focus amid climate emergency

He said: “Hydrogen as a fuel is safe and reliable and also in use today. It is not a fuel of the future it is a fuel for the future, but it is available and being used now.

“City councils and city regions can play a collaborative role and start to create hydrogen hubs and that can focus around a single large-scale solution. You can then piggy-back on that to introduce some other refuelling infrastructure.

“So you may introduce a train refuelling depot or a large-scale bus refuelling depot but then you can tag on the back of that refuelling for other vehicles like vans, refuse trucks, and for cars as well.”

Europe’s largest hydrogen bus refuelling station is the BOC-constructed Aberdeen City Council hydrogen refuelling station at Kittybrewster, which serves a fleet of 10 buses. “The stat is that one bus takes up to 75 cars off the road, so it is something we should focus on,” said Mr Griffin.

READ MORE: World’s largest zero emission hydrogen flight test in Scotland

Logan Energy said it has a strong belief in the hydrogen

economy and its role in the future energy system, and has financed its refuelling point itself, a move it says

“is also hoped will encourage people to consider hydrogen vehicles as viable green transport options”.

Mr Ireland, Logan Energy chief executive, welcomed the UK Government’s £30 million funding support to several hydrogen projects tasked with investigating whether or not hydrogen could be used to slash emissions from sectors such as industry and transport but said “we need more than just funding support if green hydrogen is to play its part in helping us reach net zero”.

He said there needed to be a “effective ‘carrot and stick’ legislation for both the expansion of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and vehicles in Scotland”.

He added: “This needs to happen now as the deployment of the technology will not happen overnight. With a Scottish ban on fossil-fuel vehicle sales by 2032, and UK by

2035, petrol filling stations will start to see a decrease in revenue imminently and will need to look to the alternatives to survive.”

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