Green Hydrogen A Renewable Energy Technology

Green Hydrogen A Renewable Energy Technology

Powersystems reviews Green Hydrogen as a renewable energy technology and some of the challenges the sector faces as we wait for the Hydrogen Strategy publication from the UK Government this year.

Hydrogen is the lightest element of the periodic table and the most common substance in the world.  It can be used as feedstock, fuel or energy carrier and does not emit CO2 when burnt, that is why you often hear about its high potential for decarbonising the economy.

Now, as nations come forward with net-zero strategies to align with their international climate targets, hydrogen has once again risen up the agenda for the UK and Australia through to Germany and Japan.

Potentially hydrogen could soon power trucks, planes and ships. It could heat homes, balance electricity grids and help heavy industry to make everything from steel to cement.

But doing all these things with hydrogen would require staggering quantities of the fuel, which is only as clean as the methods used to produce it. Moreover, for every potentially transformative application of hydrogen, there are unique challenges that must be overcome.

In order to meet the 2050 decarbonisation policies and targets, the UK requires deployment of new technologies in traditional roles. One of these is the innovative technology around the uses of Green Hydrogen.

What is Hydrogen?

Hydrogen is an explosive and clean-burning gas. Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, (H2).

In a flame of pure hydrogen gas, burning in air, the hydrogen (H2) reacts with oxygen (O2) to form water (H2O) and releases energy.

The energy released enables hydrogen to act as a fuel. This energy can be used with relatively high efficiency.

Hydrogen can be made by splitting water with electricity (electrolysis) or by splitting fossil fuels or biomass with heat or steam, using “reforming” or “pyrolysis”. Any CO2 can be captured and stored.

Hydrogen can be stored, liquified and transported via pipelines, trucks or ships. And it can be used to make fertiliser, fuel vehicles, heat homes, generate electricity or drive heavy industry.

Hydrogen is usually considered an energy carrier, like electricity, as it must be produced from a primary energy source.

In a hydrogen economy, hydrogen would be used in place of fossil fuels, which currently provide four-fifths of the world’s energy supply and emit the bulk of global greenhouse gas emissions. This could aid climate goals because hydrogen only emits water when burned and can be made without releasing CO2.

What is blue hydrogen?

Blue hydrogen is when natural gas is split into hydrogen and CO2 either by Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) or Auto Thermal Reforming (ATR), but the CO2 is captured and then stored. As the greenhouse gasses are captured, this mitigates the environmental impacts on the planet. Simply put, hydrogen is considered blue when the emissions generated from the steam process are captured and stored underground via industrial carbon capture and storage (CSS).

What is brown/black hydrogen?

Brown hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels and currently accounts for around 95 per cent of global production. The oldest way of producing hydrogen is by transforming coal into gas. This gasification process converts fossil-based materials into carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen. Gasification is achieved at incredible high temperatures without combustion, with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam. The carbon monoxide then reacts with water to form carbon dioxide and more hydrogen via a water-gas shift reaction.

Generated via coal gasification syngas and hydrogen can be separated from the other elements using absorbers. It is the result of a highly polluting process since both CO2 and carbon monoxide cannot be reused and are released in the atmosphere.

What is Pink hydrogen?

Hydrogen obtained from electrolysis through nuclear energy is coloured pink.

Hydrogen from Biomass

Hydrogen can also be produced from Biomass via gasification. Depending on the type of biomass but also on the use of carbon capture and storage technologies net carbon emissions can be lower using these technologies

What is green hydrogen?

Green hydrogen is produced using electricity generated from renewables such as solar energy, biomass, electricity (e.g., in the form of solar PV or via wind turbines), instead of fossil fuels. And currently accounts for 1% of overall hydrogen production.

Green hydrogen has the potential to provide clean power for manufacturing, transportation, and more — and its only by-product is water. With green hydrogen, zero carbon emissions are produced. It is in essence the gold standard of hydrogen in the clean energy sector.

Why is green hydrogen a big deal?

Green hydrogen is one of several potential low-carbon fuels that could take the place of today’s fossil hydrocarbons. Admittedly, hydrogen is far from ideal as a fuel. Its low density makes it hard to store and move around. And its flammability can be a problem.

However, the case for hydrogen is clear; the UK requires a zero-emission fuel that is well understood, has extensive regulations and standards in place, is readily scalable and which can be used across multiple energy vectors. Hydrogen is that fuel. In the next decade alone, research by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking  (FCH JU) indicates that hydrogen could reduce CO2 emissions by 1.7 million to 6.3 million tonnes by 2030, supporting the further deployment of 1,800 MW to 9 GW of wind and 830 MW to 4 GW of solar.

There are major technical and economic hurdles to meeting the UK’s Net Zero goals without hydrogen, particularly for heating and transport applications

The country’s gas grid supplies 3x more energy than the electricity grid today, and the transport sector accounted for over 1/3rd of final energy consumption in 2019. While there is significant renewable power generation potential in the UK, notably from offshore wind, electrifying all heating and transport is likely to be an unsurmountable challenge by 2050. Mass electrification would require and overhaul of the current energy system, and massive scale up of batteries, improved transmission systems and smart metering. Alternatively, hydrogen can be integrated into current energy distribution and end-use systems, and utilize high renewables potential in the UK by converting green electrons into green molecules, that can be widely transported and stored seasonally. Mechanisms to store significant volumes of energy are important for coping with extreme environmental events.

Hydrogen is already widely used by industry, so technical problems to storage and transport are not insurmountable. The opportunity for green hydrogen to be applied across a wide range of sectors means there is a large number of companies looking at harnessing and benefiting from a hydrogen fuel economy. The most significant of these are the oil and gas firms (who are increasingly facing the calls to cut back on fossil fuel production). Big oil’s interest in green hydrogen could be critical in getting the fuel through to commercial viability. Cutting the cost of green hydrogen production will require massive investment and massive scale, something the oil majors are uniquely positioned to provide.

Green hydrogen projects and pathways 

Hydrogen offers a pathway to revitalise manufacturing capabilities in the UK and improve the skill base for workers. The UK was a leader in discovering hydrogen and creating fuel cells, and today has several world leading manufacturers and supply chain businesses that with the right support could become global leaders and engines of economic growth for the UK economy. Using hydrogen, the UK could also become a global Centre of Excellence for hydrogen mobility and transport across land, maritime and aviation sectors.

  • A recent report published by Powersystems highlights that hydrogen produced with renewable electricity could compete on costs with fossil fuel alternatives by 2030
  • UK regions are taking steps to capture the scale of the hydrogen opportunity. Scotland has pro-actively driven hydrogen investment and support for regional initiatives, including the BIG HIT project in the Orkneys, this multi-partner plan involves the Port of Cromarty Firth together with SHFCA members ScottishPower (ScottishPower has created a new business division dedicated to delivering green hydrogen) and Pale Blue Dot, as well as other partners including Scotch whisky producers Glenmorangie, Whyte and Mackay and Diageo. This new green hydrogen hub in the Highlands will see Scotland leading the way for the integration and deployment of hydrogen technology and decarbonisation of local industry.
  • The H100 Fife project is designed to be a real life test of the use of hydrogen for heating homes. The idea is to build a facility in Levenmouth, Fife, that will use offshore wind power to generate hydrogen from electrolysers.
  • In Wales, the government has recently launched a consultation on developing the hydrogen energy sector in Wales
  • Across the country, local businesses in East Anglia are partnering with LEPs and local councils to assess opportunities to leverage the region’s rich offshore wind experience to accelerate the hydrogen transition.
  • Announced in February and March 2021, The National Grid currently has two UK Projects underway; FutureGrid, which is trialling hydrogen mixes in off-grid pipelines and Project Union, which is exploring the development of a UK hydrogen ‘backbone’ joining together industrial clusters around the country.
  • Equinor and SSE Thermal have unveiled plans to develop a 100% hydrogen-fuelled power station in the UK’s Humber region – and it’s believed to be a world first.
  • Powersystems recently reported on the global race to produce hydrogen offshore. Wind generation reached its highest ever level, at 17.2GW on 18 December 2020, while wind power achieved its biggest share of UK electricity production, at 60% on 26 August 2020. Yet occasionally the huge offshore wind farms pump out far more electricity than the UK needs. What if you could use wind energy to make hydrogen?
Is the UK late to the green hydrogen party?

Given that on the 8 July 2020, the road map was unveiled by the European Union to promote green hydrogen “as a key priority to achieve the European Green deal and Europe’s clean energy transition.” It is seen as a technology which can bridge the gap between electricity production from renewable energy and the goal of decarbonising a large share of the EU’s energy.

Similar policy developments are underway in the likes of Australia, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, Germany, France, Portugal and the US – the pressure is on ministers to ensure that the UK makes early preparations to become a competitive exporter in the sector.

Presently we can only look at promises made as part of the Ten Point plan for a green industrial revolution announced in November 2020. The UK Government expects that driving the growth of low carbonhydrogen could deliver over GBP 4 billion of private investment in the period up to 2030. The UK Hydrogen strategy was due in March 2021

  • The Nuclear Industry Council (NIC) and Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) published a roadmap outlining how the UK could co-locate electrolysis at 12-13GW of nuclear reactors. This commitment could enable the production of 75 TWh of green hydrogen by 2050, the bodies claim
  • The UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, has also published a roadmap this month, detailing a potential trajectory for the sector through to 2050. The roadmap has been backed by business giants including Rolls Royce and ITM Power and explores how the UK could target 80GW of green hydrogen capacity by 2050.
  • Powersystems recently shared on what we need to know about hydrogen on climate change and decarbonisation in the UK ahead of COP26 In November 2021
What about hydrogen vehicles?

Alongside oil and gas firms, renewable developers see green hydrogen as an emerging market, with offshore wind leader Ørsted last month trumpeting the first major project to exclusively target the transport sector in Denmark. The eye-catching Toyota Mirai helped fuel early hopes that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles might vie with electric cars to take over from the internal combustion engine. But as the EV market has boomed, the prospect of hydrogen being a serious contender has faded from view, at least in the passenger vehicle segment.There are roughly 18,000 hydrogen fuel-cell cars in the world today and 31,000 forklifts, compared to more than 373,600 plug-in electrics up to December 2020.That said, pundits still expect hydrogen to play a role in decarbonizing some vehicle segments, with forklifts and heavy-duty trucks among the most likely to benefit.

  • Powersystems looks at the most ambitious shake-up in the bus sector in a generation. The 5-year new funding investment aims to deliver 4,000 new British-built electric/hydrogen buses to provide clean, quiet, zero-emission travel
  • The NHS outlined plans to trial hydrogen-powered ambulances in London later this year. The organisation is sourcing retrofitted hydrogen combustion technology from ULEMCo and pairing it with battery technology from Promech Technologies
  • Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) updated its business strategy to fully electrify Jaguar models by 2025, with another ambition to begin testing hydrogen fuel cell electric prototypes in the UK this year
  • Toyota, Daimler and BMW are leading a group of 13 companies across the world, investing $10 billion over the next decade in developing hydrogen technology and infrastructure. Government investment also has a role to play
  • Bath Area Trams Association (BATA) has announced that it is in detailed discussions with American transportation system manufacturer TIG/m and consultants TenBroeke Engineering for a wire-free hydrogen tram project
  • Powersystems reports on Hydrogen or electric vehicles? Why the answer is probably both – The distinct virtues of the two main emerging types of greener transport mean both are likely to flourish, depending on the requirements of different types of user
  • In Northern Ireland, the first three hydrogen fuel cell double decker busses entered service on Northern Ireland a further 142 buses to come.
  • In the North East – Teeside, which produces most of the UK’s current hydrogen, a hydrogen transport Centre of Excellence is being set up and funded by the government, with local leaders having even wider hydrogen economy aspirations
  • The Government has announced £30m of investment in EV and hydrogen technology to help launch studies into the creation of a UK lithium supply chain, improvements in battery safety and the re-use of car batteries. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) revealed the plans, which include a project to extract lithium from hard rock in Cornwall as well as studies into hydrogen storage and the development of solid-state batteries.
Leading sector for UK job creation

Green hydrogen has the potential to become a leading sector in the UK for job creation and exports.

The UK is currently a global leader in the manufacture and design of hydrogen electrolysis systems, with decades of expertise in hydrogen storage, transportation, and combustion technologies. These include the world’s first PEM electrolysis Gigafactory built by ITM Power, membrane free electrolysers developed by CPH2, and high resiliency electrolysers built for the UK & French nuclear fleets by TP Group.

Other emerging technologies Include Solid Oxide Electrolysers currently under development by CERES Power and HiiROC’s plasma process technology.

74,000 jobs could be created from a commitment to hydrogen by the government and supported by appropriate measures

Supporting these highly specialised businesses and other innovative technology companies require highly skilled workers creating thousands of well-paid manufacturing jobs across the UK will provide a competitive advantage towards an emerging global market demand.

Longer-term private sector vision

These new projects may seem small in comparison to the UK’s broader transport, industrial and heat sectors. But it is clear that there is strong private sector support for longer-term, overarching initiatives that deliver an ongoing transition beyond initial pilots.

  • The Green Hydrogen Catapult, for example, has convened seven big businesses under a shared mission to increase the world’s green hydrogen production fifty-fold by 2026 – in a move they claim will halve costs
  • Business members of the Catapult include Iberdrola, Ørsted, ACWA Power, CWP Renewables, Envision, Yara, and Snam
  • Away from the private sector, non-profit the Rocky Mountain Institute will provide support alongside the UN’s pre-COP26 ‘Race to Zero’

£320 billion could be generated by the Hydrogen industry for the UK economy

  • Similarly, trade bodies including WindEurope and SolarPowerEurope received backing from Bill-Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy last year to form the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition
  • And, while the Catapult is global and the Coalition covers all of Europe, the UK does play host to its own Hydrogen Taskforce, which includes the likes of Shell and BP

The Hydrogen Taskforce is a coalition of the hydrogen industry’s largest organisations that operate in and innovate across this sector. Its aim is to secure the role of hydrogen in the future energy mix.

The Hydrogen Taskforce is committed to working with Government to secure tangible support to aid the creation of infrastructure and delivery frameworks, helping the government to deliver on its promises to level up the regions and its Net Zero by 2050 commitments.

The Hydrogen Taskforce aims to enable the UK to become a world leader in the international application and service of hydrogen, to deliver excellence throughout the supply chain and create a globally attractive export.

All in all, it would seem that all of the ingredients are ready for the UK to begin dramatically decarbonising and scaling up its hydrogen sector. Over the coming weeks, all eyes will be on BEIS, pushing it to bring the Hydrogen Strategy to the table and understand the actions we now need to take as part of the Rollout plan for a UK hydrogen economy.

 

EU backs Orsted team on green hydrogen initiative

EU backs Orsted team on green hydrogen initiative

The EU is providing funding to an initiative including Orsted and Siemens Gamesa that is aiming to demonstrate and investigate a combined wind turbine and electrolyser system for green hydrogen designed for operation in marine environments.

The Oyster project, which also includes ITM Power and Element Energy, has been awarded €5m from The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH2-JU), a public private partnership of the European Commission.

Money will be used to investigate the feasibility and potential of combining an offshore wind turbine directly with an electrolyser and transporting renewable hydrogen to shore.

The consortium will develop and test a megawatt-scale fully ‘marinised’ electrolyser in a shoreside pilot trial.

The project, which is planned to start in 2021 and run to the end of 2024, will be coordinated by Element Energy.

ITM Power is responsible for the development of the electrolyser system and the unit’s trials.

Orsted will lead the offshore deployment analysis, the feasibility study of future physical offshore electrolyser deployments, and support ITM Power in the design of the electrolyser system for marinisation and testing.

Siemens Gamesa and Element Energy are providing technical and project expertise.

ITM Power chief executive Graham Cooley said: “ITM Power are delighted to be part of this exciting project, working alongside industry leaders to explore the potential to harness wind for offshore green hydrogen production.”

Orsted head of hydrogen Anders Christian Nordstrom said: “To create a world that runs entirely on green energy, we need to electrify as much as we can.

“However, some sectors cannot decarbonise through electrification and that’s where renewable hydrogen could play a significant role. Offshore hydrogen production could be a future, supplemental way of getting large amounts of energy generated from offshore wind power to shore.

“As the largest offshore wind company in the world, we’re of course keen to better understand what it will take to produce renewable hydrogen offshore as a potential future supplement to production of renewable electricity.

“Having pioneered the offshore wind industry, we know that thorough analysis and testing are required before deploying new technologies at sea.”

FCH JU executive director Bart Biebuyck said: “The Oyster project is a very exciting addition to the FCH JU pallet of electrolysis projects that will allow the development of an offshore-spec electrolyser for green hydrogen to be generated in the harsh offshore environment.

“The aim is the optimal integration of electrolysers with offshore wind turbines to store the energy generated in the form of hydrogen.

“We are absolutely delighted to support this innovative project which reduces the environmental impact in further industrial applications.”

Element Energy associate director Michael Dolman said: “Offshore wind is now one of the lowest cost forms of electricity generation in Europe and will have an important role in Europe’s decarbonisation plans.

“There is growing interest in transporting renewable energy in the form of hydrogen, particularly for sites far from shore. Realising such a vision will require further development and innovations of the type to be demonstrated in the Oyster project, which Element Energy is pleased to coordinate.”

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Green hydrogen ‘competitive with blue alternatives by 2030

Green hydrogen ‘competitive with blue alternatives by 2030

Hydrogen produced with renewable electricity could compete on costs with fossil fuel alternatives by 2030, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Irena said in the ‘Green Hydrogen Cost Reduction: Scaling up Electrolysers to Meet the 1.5⁰C Climate Goal’ report that a combination of falling costs for solar and wind power, improved performance as well as economies of scale for electrolysers could make it possible.

The report looks at drivers for innovation and presents strategies that governments can peruse to reduce the cost of electrolysers by 40% in the short term and by up to 80% in the long term, IRENA said.

It said that currently green hydrogen is two to three times more expensive than blue hydrogen, produced from fossil fuels in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Irena said the production cost for green hydrogen is determined by the renewable electricity price, the investment cost of the electrolyser and its operating hours.

But, while low-cost electricity is a necessary condition for competitive green hydrogen, investment costs for electrolysis facilities must fall significantly too, Irena added.

The report said that standardisation and mass-manufacturing of the electrolyser stacks, efficiency in operation as well as the optimisation of material procurement and supply chains will be equally important to bring down costs.

In the report’s best-case scenario, using low-cost renewable electricity at $20 a megawatt-hour in large, cost-competitive electrolyser facilities could produce green hydrogen at a competitive cost with blue hydrogen already today.

If rapid scale-up and aggressive electrolysers deployment take place in the next decade, green hydrogen could then start competing on costs with blue hydrogen by 2030 in many countries, making it cheaper than other low-carbon alternatives before 2040.

IRENA director-general Francesco La Camera said: “Renewable hydrogen can be a game-changer in global efforts to decarbonise our economies.

“Levelling the playing field to close the cost gap between fossil fuels and green hydrogen is necessary.

“Cost-competitive green hydrogen can help us build a resilient energy system that thrives on modern technologies and embraces innovative solutions fit for the 21st century.”

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Siemens Gamesa tests hydrogen production from wind turbine in ‘island mode’

Siemens Gamesa tests hydrogen production from wind turbine in ‘island mode’

In a bid to decarbonize heavy industries, Siemens Gamesa is installing the first system in the world capable of producing green hydrogen directly with a wind turbine, with no connection to the grid, known as in ‘island mode’.

This represents a strategic step towards delivering large-scale green hydrogen from the mid-2020s onwards.

Green hydrogen represents a massive opportunity for the green transition by driving the transformation of the energy system: green hydrogen can be produced anywhere and used in sectors that are very difficult to decarbonize, such as aviation and shipping, as well as heavy industry, such as iron and steel, chemicals and glass. Hydrogen can go a long way to reducing emissions at a national and company level.

Long-term forecasts from various industry sources point to hydrogen growing exponentially over the coming decades as transport and heavy industry decarbonize, requiring between 1,000GW and 4,000GW of renewable capacity by 2050 to meet demand, which highlights the vast potential for growth in wind power.

“Green hydrogen has the potential to be a game-changer in the quest to decarbonize the power supply and solve the climate crisis. Our wind turbines are already making a huge contribution to this effort by providing clean electricity to the grid but, with the storage potential of hydrogen, we can start addressing other key industries. This is an exciting project and I’m proud that the ingenuity and commitment of our people is enabling Siemens Gamesa to take the lead. This is the future,” said Andreas Nauen, Siemens Gamesa CEO.

Brande hydrogen pilot project

This is the first pilot project in the world to connect a wind turbine to an electrolyzer with the ability to operate in ‘island mode’, i.e. driving an electrolysis rig with no link to an electricity grid.

The pilot is now under development close to Siemens Gamesa’s Danish headquarters in Brande, western Denmark. It includes a 3MW Siemens Gamesa wind turbine owned by local partner Uhre Windpower, that will produce clean electricity to power a 400kW electrolyzer. This machine splits water into oxygen and hydrogen, so that the hydrogen can be stored and later delivered to customers in the mobility sector.

The project is close to obtaining final permits; the first test runs are planned for December 2020 and hydrogen production should start by January 2021.

Siemens Gamesa recently signed an agreement with Danish company Everfuel, which will distribute the 100% green hydrogen produced by the facility to refueling stations across Denmark, for example in Copenhagen, where it will be used to fuel taxis.

When fully operational, the project’s single turbine will produce enough hydrogen to fuel around 50-70 taxis each day. Carbon-free hydrogen, derived from low-cost, competitive wind power, can be stored and transported for use on demand. This facility will provide insights that will be crucial to scaling up the technology to much larger turbines and wind farms both on land and at sea.

 

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Government £12bn green recovery 10 point plan

Government £12bn green recovery 10 point plan

Ten-point £12bn Green Recovery economic spending plan announced by Boris Johnson.

Slowly but surely humanity is taking the upper hand in the fight against the virus. We have not won yet. There are still hard weeks and months to come. But with better drugs, testing and a range of vaccines, we know in our hearts that next year we will succeed. We will use science to rout the virus, and we must use the same extraordinary powers of invention to repair the economic damage from Covid-19, and to build back better.

Now is the time to plan for a green recovery with high-skilled jobs that give people the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to make the country cleaner, greener and more beautiful. Imagine Britain when a Green Industrial Revolution has helped to level up the country.

You cook breakfast using hydrogen power before getting in your electric car, having charged it overnight from batteries made in the Midlands. Around you the air is cleaner; trucks, trains, ships and planes run on hydrogen or synthetic fuel. British towns and regions — Teesside, Port Talbot, Port of Tyne, Merseyside and Mansfield — are now synonymous with green technology and jobs. This is where Britain’s ability to make hydrogen and capture carbon pioneered the decarbonisation of transport, industry and power.

My 10-point plan to get there will mobilise £12bn of government investment, and potentially three times as much from the private sector, to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs.

There will be electric vehicle technicians in the Midlands, construction and installation workers in the North East and Wales, specialists in advanced fuels in the North West, agroforestry practitioners in Scotland, and grid system installers everywhere. And we will help people train for these new green jobs through our Lifetime Skills Guarantee. Climate Capital Where climate change meets business, markets and politics.

This 10-point plan will turn the UK into the world’s number one centre for green technology and finance, creating the foundations for decades of economic growth.

One — we will make the UK the Saudi Arabia of wind with enough offshore capacity to power every home by 2030.

Two — we will turn water into energy with up to £500m of investment in hydrogen.

Three — we will take forward our plans for new nuclear power, from large scale to small and advanced modular reactors.

Four — we’ll invest more than £2.8bn in electric vehicles, lacing the land with charging points and creating long-lasting batteries in UK gigafactories. This will allow us to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030. However, we will allow the sale of hybrid cars and vans that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe until 2035.

Five — we will have cleaner public transport, including thousands of green buses and hundreds of miles of new cycle lanes.

Six — we will strive to repeat the feat of Jack Alcock and Teddie Brown, who achieved the first nonstop transatlantic flight a century ago, with a zero emission plane. And we will do the same with ships.

Seven — we will invest £1bn next year to make homes, schools and hospitals greener, and energy bills lower.

Eight — we will establish a new world-leading industry in carbon capture and storage, backed by £1bn of government investment for clusters across the North, Wales and Scotland.

Nine — we will harness nature’s ability to absorb carbon by planting 30,000 hectares of trees a year by 2025 and rewilding 30,000 football pitches’ worth of countryside.

And ten — our £1bn energy innovation fund will help commercialise new low-carbon technologies, like the world’s first liquid air battery being developed in Trafford, and we will make the City of London the global centre for green finance through our sovereign bond, carbon offset markets and disclosure requirements.

This plan can be a global template for delivering net zero emissions in ways that create jobs and preserve our lifestyles.

On Wednesday I will meet UK businesses to discuss their contribution. We plan to provide clear timetables for the clean energy we will procure, details of the regulations we will change, and the carbon prices that we will put on emissions. I will establish a “task force net zero” committed to reaching net zero by 2050, and through next year’s COP26 summit we will urge countries and companies around the world to join us in delivering net zero globally. Green and growth can go hand-in-hand. So let us meet the most enduring threat to our planet with one of the most innovative and ambitious programmes of job-creation we have known.

Words by Prime Minister Boris Johnson

 

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The European Marine Energy Centre adds flow battery storage to tidal for green hydrogen boost

The European Marine Energy Centre adds flow battery storage to tidal for green hydrogen boost

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, is to deploy an Invinity Energy Systems flow battery at its tidal energy test site on the island of Eday to make green hydrogen.

The combination of tidal power and 1.8 megawatt-hour flow batteries will be used to power EMEC’s hydrogen production plant, demonstrating continuous hydrogen production from variable renewable generation.

Invinity’s modular flow battery system is funded by the Scottish government, through the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and will be assembled at the company’s manufacturing facility in Bathgate, West Lothian.

The system will consist of eight Invinity VS3 battery modules linked together into a single system. The project is expected to go live next year.

Invinity’s vanadium flow batteries (VFBs) are a form of heavy duty, stationary energy storage which are deployed in high-utilisation, industrial applications and provide hours of continuous power, one or more times per day.

At EMEC’s site, the system will store electricity generated by tidal turbines during high power periods, and discharge it during low power periods.

This will ‘smooth’ tidal generation to create continuous, on-demand electricity to turn into hydrogen using EMEC’s 670kW hydrogen electrolyser.

This will optimise hydrogen production at the site to enable tonnes of green hydrogen generation each year, EMEC said.

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “We are delighted to support this world-first innovative energy systems project in Orkney, with £1.8m of funding from the Scottish Government.

“The demonstration of hydrogen and systems integration with renewables will be a key part of our energy transition pathways and we look forward to watching the progress of this exciting and pioneering project, building on the strong track record of Orkney and EMEC, in particular, in demonstrating hydrogen and integrated energy systems.”

EMEC managing director Neil Kermode said: “EMEC’s core purpose is to demonstrate technologies in new and inspired ways to decarbonise our energy system.

“This is the first time that a flow battery will have been coupled with tidal energy and hydrogen production, and will support the development of the innovative energy storage solution being developed in the Interreg NWE ITEG project.

“Following a technical review looking at how to improve the efficiencies of the electrolyser we assessed that flow batteries would be the best fit for the energy system.

“As flow batteries store electrical charge in a liquid rather than a solid, they can provide industrial quantities of power for a sustained period, can deeply discharge without damaging itself, as well as stand fully charged for extended periods without losing charge.

“These are all necessary qualities to integrate battery technology with the renewable power generation and hydrogen production process.”

Invinity chief commercial officer Matt Harper said: “We are thrilled to be part of this Scottish success story, showcasing the best of clean energy technology, backed by Scottish Government, designed and assembled in West Lothian by highly qualified Scottish engineers and installed in the Orkney Islands.

“This project is truly groundbreaking. Because of their inherent variability, all renewable energy sources – including wind, solar and tidal – have difficulty providing the consistent power that industrial processes like electrolysis need to operate most effectively.

“Including energy storage in a comprehensive renewables-to-hydrogen system bridges that gap, providing a path to accelerated commercialisation of future green hydrogen projects.

“Vanadium flow batteries are the perfect partner for tidal power, continually absorbing then dispatching four or more hours of continuous power, multiple times per day, over decades of service – a duty cycle that would rapidly degrade lithium batteries.

“Invinity eagerly anticipates working with EMEC to validate both their vision, and our VFB’s unique fit, for this revolutionary application.”

HIE Orkney area manager Graeme Harrison said: “The establishment of EMEC in 2003 was a key factor in placing Orkney at the international forefront of renewable energy development, particularly in the marine sector.

Demonstration of the production/use of green hydrogen within the Orkney energy system is the latest in a series of highly innovative projects in these islands that have helped us maintain our global lead ever since.

“Investing in the growth of Scotland’s green economy has been a feature of HIE’s approach for many years and will play a vital role in our future plans to support recovery from the economic impacts of Covid-19.

“We are very proud to be able to facilitate this exciting initiative and grateful to the Scottish government for making it’s funding available.”

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