Image: Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen City Council has selected bp as its preferred bidder for a commercial partnership that will help the city achieve its vision of being a world-class hydrogen center.

The Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub proposal, which was selected following a rigorous procurement process that began in June, will enable the city to continue developing a hydrogen economy.

A critical component of the initiative will be the establishment of Scotland’s first large-scale green hydrogen generation facility. Phase 1, which entails the construction of a green hydrogen factory, is scheduled to begin operations in 2024.

As a result, options include generating hydrogen for buses, heavy cargo vehicles, and large vans utilizing power generated by a new photovoltaic solar farm, green power purchase agreements, and a private wire grid connection.

Following that, production might be scaled up by more investment to deliver bigger volumes of hydrogen for rail, freight, and marine, as well as for heat and possibly export. This would be facilitated by the anticipated rise in local renewable energy sources’ availability, notably offshore wind installations resulting from the ScotWind leasing cycle.

Aberdeen City Council’s objective to create a climate-positive city and inclusive growth will be aided by the Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub program, which will assist hydrogen supply chain development, skills and training, and wider community benefits. According to a research commissioned by Aberdeen City Council, if the hydrogen hub permits the export of renewable hydrogen, 700 skilled employment in the hydrogen industry might be produced by 2030.

Aberdeen City Council leader, Councillor Jenny Laing, said: “This is a huge announcement for Aberdeen. It paves the way for the city to be a world leader in the production of hydrogen-based green fuel and energy.

“It will help create a cleaner, more sustainable city for local people and it also provides us with the opportunity to create hundreds of skilled jobs and add millions to the Aberdeen economy.

“There is tremendous investment potential, and we already have deep-rooted skills and experience in the energy sector to tap into.

“Aberdeen has a worldwide reputation as a pioneering hydrogen city with a net zero emissions vision. We are already leading the way to a greener, cleaner future and working with bp, we intend to put Aberdeen at the forefront of the green economic recovery.

“We already have a successful partnership with bp, who have advised the Council on the delivery of our Energy Transition Strategic Infrastructure Plan and this exciting announcement builds on that work.”

Louise Kingham OBE, bp’s UK head of country and senior vice president for Europe, added: “bp wants to play a leading role in Scotland’s energy transition as is evidenced by this news and our transformational bid in the ScotWind offshore wind leasing round.

“These new business opportunities are underpinned by our 50-plus years of operations in the North Sea where, based out of Aberdeen, we have built up vast skills and experience that are directly transferable to emerging energy industries.

“We look forward to working with Aberdeen City Council on this exciting project and are pleased that – following the competitive and robust public procurement process – we were able to position bp as the partner of choice.”

Aberdeen City Council began its hydrogen adventure over a decade ago and has previously proved how demand can be generated within cities by powering a fleet of 25 buses, 60 public sector vehicles and rubbish trucks, as well as the P&J Live events complex, with the zero-emission fuel. Over two million passengers have ridden the city’s hydrogen buses, and the city has saved more than 100 tonnes of CO2 in the last six years.

Aberdeen City Council’s Convenor for City Growth and Resources Commmittee, Councillor Ryan Houghton, said: “We’re proud that hydrogen is already here in Aberdeen and this significant commercial partnership with bp is set to support our ambitions. We plan to create a blueprint which can be replicated around the world by the cities and regions looking to reach net zero.”

As the preferred bidder, bp will now work with Aberdeen City Council to conclude the contractual process which will lead to the set-up of the joint venture. Work will then commence on the required front end engineering design (FEED) work, with the aim of making a final investment decision on the selected development concept in 2023.

Partnering with cities and corporates as they shape their own paths to net zero is a core part of bp’s strategy introduced in August last year. Over the next decade, bp expects to partner with 10-15 cities globally to provide innovative, integrated ‎and decarbonised energy solutions at scale to help them achieve their goals of net zero emissions.

William Lin, bp’s executive vice president regions, cities and solutions, said: “bp is truly delighted to have been selected as preferred bidder for this new low carbon energy project which will help develop an integrated, end-to-end energy system for the city based on green hydrogen with real potential for future growth within Aberdeen and beyond.

“The hub builds on Aberdeen’s leading position as a global energy centre as well as its growing reputation as a centre of excellence for hydrogen technology.

“For bp, this is further evidence of putting our strategy into action as we seek to provide integrated energy solutions to help cities and corporations decarbonise and get to net zero. We are very proud of the partnership and cooperation that we have with the Council and look forward to deepening our relationship going forward.”

Nedim Husomanovic

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