Orkney’s Hydrogen Future

Hydrogen is fast becoming a key energy resource in the world transition to a low carbon future. The Orkney Hydrogen Strategy seeks to aid development towards an Orkney appropriate sustainable hydrogen economy to provide economic benefits such as: local jobs; establishing a local supply chain; and an increased resilience in the local energy system.

A public consultation is underway in Orkney over the future possibilities of hydrogen development projects in the islands – Orkney Hydrogen Strategy

Orkney has very much led the way in the development of renewables and the production of hydrogen as a means of storing excess electricity produced has been part of that research. It’s a Big Hit

The draft Orkney Hydrogen Strategy is not a council owned document but is a pooling  together of those working on projects to develop a strategy that fits the islands local needs.

The draft Orkney Hydrogen Strategy sits within the wider Orkney Sustainable Energy Strategy 2017 – 2025

The Orkney Sustainable Energy Strategy sets out five targets for Orkney:

  • The achievement of ambitious carbon reduction targets.
  • The reduction and eradication of fuel poverty in Orkney.
  • Positioning Orkney as the globally recognised innovation region to develop solutions for the world’s energy systems challenges.
  • Ensuring a secure energy supply during transition to a low carbon future.
  • Maximising economic opportunity and investment in Orkney.

The hydrogen projects are to be seen as part of that wider strategy to move Orkney away from fossil fuel usage.

In developing the strategy Orkney has looked at what is happening elsewhere in the world in particular developments in our more northerly neighbours such as Iceland.

The Icelandic power company ON Power (Orka náttúrunnar) will begin the production of hydrogen at the end of August, as part of a European project….Two other Icelandic companies, Orkan, owned by Skeljungur hf., and Icelandic New Energy, participate in the project….The project’s startup cost is funded by European grants, in addition to a ISK 100 million (USD 949,000, EUR 810,000) coming from ON Power. iceland monitor 2018

The European Union has extensively funded the project quoted above in Iceland but also the ones developed in Orkney. Through its Horizon 2020 programme the EU has committed millions to hydrogen projects locally – no one knows if this will continue after Brexit.

What is the future for hydrogen use and production in Orkney?

Orkney hydrogen

The draft strategy for 2025 aims for: 1 ferry, 20 vehicles, heat in 2 public buildings, 1 tonne H2per day and up to 4MW electrolysis.

The ferry is a new one to be built for the island of Shapinsay –  HYSEAS III. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 769417.

Stage 2 – 2035 aims for 2 ferries, 100 vehicles, heat in 2 public buildings, 3 MW fuel cell, 4 tonnes H2 per day and up to 14MW electrolysis.

Stage 3 – 2045 aims for H2 on most passenger ferries, 400 vehicles, heat in public and commercial buildings and 50% of Orkney homes, 10MW fuel cell, 15 tonnes H2 per day and up to 50MW electrolysis.

On the island of Shapinsay where the hydrogen is produced from the Community Owned wind turbine,  the   school is benefiting from the fitting of a new  boiler. This in turn has meant the school also successfully applied for better insulation.

Funding will be key to this with most financing having so far come from the EU – £60/£65milion estimated over 5 years.

Hydrogen 1

The UK Government has in the last 6 months put £14.3 million towards the £28.5million ReFLEX project.£28.5million to Create a ‘Smart Energy Island’  To get Orkney to anywhere near the targets being set in the draft Hydrogen Strategy will require a huge investment.

Meanwhile in Germany…

Reporter: Fiona Grahame




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4 replies »

  1. Fiona, are you aware that your video clip on hydrogen trains has been blocked by AFP?

    Chas G

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