A match-funded grant from the Scottish government’s Emerging Energy Technologies Fund worth £1.129 million will finance plans to open hydrogen facilities on the Western Isles.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) have partnered with Plus Zero Ltd and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Outer Hebrides college, who research Hebridean marine energy futures, renewables, and sustainability.
PlusZero Ltd, based on the Isle of Harris, specialise in the production, distribution, and operation of green hydrogen and are the Western Isles Council’s exclusive green hydrogen partner.
The new facilities at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Creed Park will enable hydrogen technology training and next generation electrolyser research and field testing.
Currently, the Outer Hebrides has 420 MW of consented onshore windfarm developments, though these are unable to progress to construction at present due to a lack of off-take capacity.
However, green hydrogen can be produced through the electrolysis process using the surplus electricity from local onshore renewable power via PlusZero’s electrolyser.
With the support of the Scottish Hydrogen Innovation Scheme, we are making hydrogen happen – David Amos, managing director of PlusZero
Combining expertise form the public and private sectors, universities, and local communities, the new Creed Hydrogen Skills and Innovation Centre will provide the workforce and hydrogen technology required to meet the Outer Hebrides aim to become Scotland’s leading green hydrogen production hub.
In addition to upgrading hydrogen production facilities, the project will provide a platform for specialist hydrogen training to be provided by UHI Outer Hebrides.
This will ensure that the workforce skills are up to date and align with the growing green hydrogen economy.
Additionally, the project will aid the Scottish government in achieving their target of delivering 5 gigawatts of hydrogen production by 2030.
The hydrogen produced will also be used to fuel vehicles
The Western Isles Council have been leading hydrogen projects and innovations since 2007, when one of the first hydrogen refuelling stations in Scotland was installed at Creed Park.
It is hoped that this latest project will provide hydrogen for use as a fuel in fuel cell vehicles, in particular heavy goods vehicles such as buses, helping to move away from the reliance on fossil fuels and towards zero emissions targets.
As an island, the use of locally produced hydrogen to power these vehicles has the potential to be a ‘net zero, sustainable fuel that is less impacted by global markets,’ said chair of transportation and infrastructure, Uisdean Robertson.
Transitioning to zero carbon remains top priority
David Amos, managing director at PlusZero, added: “With its unique blend of extensive and highly scalable onshore and offshore wind assets, I am delighted that the Outer Hebrides will be home to this ground-breaking new Centre that will unlock the full promise of island-produced renewable energy by transforming it into green hydrogen – a near limitless, carbon zero, pollution-free source of fuel for the 21st century.
The Scottish government have committed £100 million to the green hydrogen sector over this parliamentary session.
Part of this funding has gone into funding of the Hydrogen Innovation Scheme, which supports feasibility studies, technical demonstrations, and testing facilities for innovations in the production, storage, and distribution of hydrogen.
The First Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, said: “I am pleased to be able to confirm today that through this scheme, grants worth a total of £7 million have been allocated to 32 different projects.
“The projects cover a wide range of different areas – such as how to produce and store hydrogen on floating windfarms, and how to decarbonise agriculture and forestry work in rural areas.
“Together, they show the range of possible ways in which hydrogen can be produced, used, and stored. They highlight the expertise and innovation that is already such an important part of the sector. And, of course, they demonstrate the scale of the opportunities that hydrogen can create.”
Growing the hydrogen economy is key to Scotland’s vision to become a leading hydrogen nation and securing Scotland’s future as a centre of international excellence as it establishes the innovation, skills and supply chain to underpin their energy transition.
Join Hydrogen Industry Leaders at our event, Enhancing the Hydrogen Economy 2023, where we’ll bring a wide range of stakeholders responsible for delivering Scotland’s hydrogen objectives to discuss practical ways in which hydrogen can be produced and distributed successfully.