Hydrogen development opportunities highlighted at event

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) hosted a workshop in Inverness today (Wednesday 29 May) to identify opportunities for the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the region.

Organised by HIE, HITRANS and the Scottish Fuel Cell Association, the event informed delegates about the technology and the status of the burgeoning hydrogen industry. It also provided a forum to discuss potential opportunities for the Highlands and Islands.

Hydrogen fuel can provide a greener energy alternative to oil and gas, helping to decarbonise transport, heating and industrial processes, while providing wider energy system benefits.

The event showcased a number of hydrogen projects that are already happening in the Highlands and Islands, with the aim of helping other project ideas to take shape.

Companies including the Pure Energy Centre in Shetland and EMEC Hydrogen in Orkney discussed their work in developing and delivering hydrogen technology solutions. Delegates also learned about the outlook for zero emissions trains in the future and heard from representatives from Lews Castle College UHI about their research for practical applications of hydrogen fuel systems.    
Audrey MacIver, director of energy and low carbon at HIE, said: “We are delighted that so many people attended this hydrogen opportunities workshop. WE are very keen to understand the potential role it has in decarbonising our energy demand, and the economic benefits which could be derived from a more developed hydrogen economy. 

“The Highlands and Islands is already home to some innovative developments such as the Surf ‘n’ Turf project in Orkney.  It produces hydrogen using electricity from tidal and onshore wind turbines and the hydrogen is used to provide low carbon heat, power and transport. The project is also bringing benefits to the community by providing employment and training. Whilst good progress has been made in the production, transportation and use of hydrogen, there is still much more to do to realise its full potential, and today’s workshop has helped to further raise awareness and understanding.

EMEC, the world’s only grid-connected, independently accredited test facility for full scale wave and tidal technologies, is growing its hydrogen ambitions with a storage facility at its tidal site. Demonstration of hydrogen production to store excess marine electricity is an important step towards proving that alternatives to grid export can be viable.

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