MEMBER NEWS: Hydrogen-powered post van makes Christmas deliveries in Aberdeen

December 9, 2020
MEMBER NEWS: Hydrogen-powered post van makes Christmas deliveries in Aberdeen

Aberdeen City Council and the Royal Mail have just started a 12 month trial of a hydrogen-powered Ford Transit post van which will reduce the carbon footprint of Xmas post deliveries in Aberdeen. The Transit will fuel up at Aberdeen City Council’s hydrogen refuelling station, which is conveniently located next to Altens Delivery Office.

The trial is part of the EU-funded Civitas Portis project which is testing innovative and sustainable urban mobility solutions in five European port cities, and marks Aberdeen’s drive for better air quality as well as more sustainable transport. Up to 60 per cent of the trial van’s power is generated by ‘green’ hydrogen, with the remainder of the power during the trial coming from diesel fuel. Designed for use on roads and highways, the trial van can travel up to 120 miles in dual fuel mode, and the refuelling time is similar to equivalent petrol or diesel vans.

Councillor Philip Bell, Aberdeen City Council’s hydrogen champion, said: “We are absolutely delighted to support green transport technology in our city by providing Royal Mail with a hydrogen-powered van to operate from its Altens Mail Centre in Aberdeen for an initial 12-month trial period. Aberdeen is already a global leader in pioneering transport technologies and we at Aberdeen City Council have demonstrated our commitment to innovation by helping fund in partnership, the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker buses. We are determined to meet our environmental obligations by tackling air pollution while also establishing the city as ‘Centre for Excellence’ for hydrogen.”

James Baker, chief engineer and fleet director at Royal Mail, said: “As a company we are committed to making changes to our operations that reduce our environmental impact. Hydrogen is viewed by many as a vital source of future sustainable energy so is a perfect addition to our programme of initiatives that enable us to assess ways of achieving this, while allowing us to continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.”

The Ford Transit van, with hydrogen conversion by ULEMCo, is on loan to Altens Delivery Office in Aberdeen and is wrapped in the Royal Mail red livery. The long wheelbase Transit is slightly larger than a typical Royal Mail van, potentially making it suitable to support the growth in parcel deliveries. Able to accommodate letters, cards and parcels of all sizes, it will be used for collection and delivery duties on various postal routes in the Altens area as part of the unit’s allocated fleet.

The Royal Mail’s five-year environment strategy includes a commitment to adopting existing and new technologies that will help reduce the emissions associated with our operations. The Royal Mail’s fleet of circa 48,000 vehicles being one of the largest in the UK, and they are proactively exploring alternative vehicles and fuels that yield low or even zero emissions, with almost 300 zero-emission vehicles already in this fleet and much bigger plans going forward.

For more information visit the Royal Mail website.

Get in touch

AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise