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H2 in Orkney – The Hydrogen Islands

Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element in the universe but little is freely available as it is usually tied up to make compounds with other chemical elements. Hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis of water (H2O) by using an electric current to split water into it component parts of Hydrogen (H2) and Oxygen (O2).

Orkney has an over-abundance of renewable electricity, which at present is wasted or lost when the electricity grid reaches capacity. One way in which we can negate this waste of electricity is to use it to produce Hydrogen through electrolysis. This allows the surplus renewable energy, which would otherwise be lost, to be stored and used at a later date. The Hydrogen produced acts as an energy storage medium which can be used at a later date to produce heat, power, fuel for use as low carbon transport or for any other purpose. Hydrogen has the additional benefit that it may be used close to where it is generated reducing the need to import fossil fuels.

Generating Hydrogen in Orkney has the potential to turn challenge into opportunity by:

  • Working around the curtailed local renewable energy productions to maximise renewable energy resources.
  • Alleviating the loss of investment for local energy producers.
  • Reducing negative impacts to marine energy innovation.
  • Participation in hydrogen projects her in Orkney (BIGHIT, S’N’T, Dual Ports, On-board vehicle electrolysers).
  • Supporting Orkney communities and support for Orkney companies.
  • Working with a wide variety of partners from Europe.
  • Developing training opportunities provided locally by Orkney College defining the standard excellence in Hydrogen industry standards.
  • Attracting wider investment to the local area.
  • Leading the way for other territories to replicate a hydrogen economy.

In 2009 the community in Orkney published the Sustainable Orkney Energy Strategy defining three overarching aims to bring a strategic direction to its energy ambitions.

These three aims sought to:

  • Ensure Orkney uses energy as efficiently as possible and has a secure and affordable energy supply to meet its future needs.
  • Add value to Orkney’s renewable energy resources, for the benefit of the local economy and local communities, whilst minimising damage to the environment To reduce Orkney’s carbon footprint.

In 2017, the community in Orkney retained these strategic aims when it reviewed and subsequently launched  the Orkney Sustainable Energy Strategy: 2017-2025. The reviewed strategy agreed the following vision statement:
 
Orkney: a secure, sustainable low carbon island economy driven uniquely by innovation and collaboration, enabling the community to achieve ambitious carbon reduction targets, address fuel poverty and provide energy systems solutions to the world.

The ‘Orkney Hydrogen Strategy: The hydrogen islands’ sits within the Orkney Sustainable Energy Strategy as a community owned document which seeks to identify how hydrogen can best be applied to energy systems in Orkney to maintain the early mover advantage by building on the success Orkney has had in attracting and demonstrating a number of world leading hydrogen projects already active on the Islands.

Our strategy will ensure that Orkney is not only playing a part in the reaching sustainability targets set by the EU, Westminster and the Scottish Government but also having an opportunity to guide how such targets are set and will further Orkney’s reputation as a forward thinking island community that is able to attract funding for and deliver a range of projects with global significance.

A copy of the strategy document is available from the Related Downloads section of this webpage.

For more information contact Project Manager David Hannon.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS