ITM Power to make a BIG HIT with hydrogen energy in Orkney renewable project

ITM Power hydrogen thingHyrdogen energy company ITM Power has won a €5m EU grant to install a 1.5-MW electrolyser in Orkney for the BIG HIT (Building Innovative Green Hydrogen systems in an Isolated Territory) programme.

The AIM-listed company is the electrolyser provider for BIG HIT and will get EUR 2.27 million over five years for the project.

The Orkney Islands have over 50MW of installed wind, wave and tidal capacity, generating over 46GWhr per year of renewable power, and has been a net exporter of electricity since 2013.

Energy used to produce the hydrogen for BIG HIT will be provided by the community-owned wind turbines on Shapinsay and Eday, two of the Orkney islands.

BIG HIT will also enable the deployment of 10 electric vans, which will each be fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell range extender. A hydrogen refuelling station will be constructed in, or near to, Kirkwall.

The hydrogen fuel cells in these adapted vans will give them a wider range than their battery-powered electric counterparts. In order to demonstrate the potential scope hydrogen also has for heat uses in Orkney, BIG HIT will install two hydrogen-powered boilers at suitable premises to provide zero carbon heat.

At present the Shapinsay and Eday turbines are often ‘curtailed’, losing on average more than 30% of their annual output. In addition, their electricity output is limited by grid capacity restrictions in Orkney. Production of hydrogen from this curtailed energy by electrolysis of water gives ‘green’ hydrogen from renewable energy sources with a very low carbon footprint.

BIG HIT builds on foundations laid by the Orkney Surf ‘n’ Turf initiative, which will see production of hydrogen on the islands of Eday and Shapinsay using wind and tidal energy.

These are both world leading pilot and demonstration projects, which deploy a fully integrated model of hydrogen production, storage, transportation and utilisation for low carbon heat, power and transport.

These projects address a number of operational and development challenges including the logistical and regulatory aspects for transport of hydrogen fuel between islands, and the orientation and familiarisation with new hydrogen building and transport technologies.

Dr Graham Cooley, Chief Executive, ITM Power commented: “Big Hit is a major step in turning the Orkney Islands into a genuine ‘hydrogen territory’. The deployment of 1.5MW of electrolysis and the operation of hydrogen logistics to provide a transport fuel and renewable heat is a very important part of that process.”

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed