Renewable Hydrogen-powered vehicles in the United Kingdom’s remote communities could be a step nearer to reality as a result of a recent energy study conducted by the Pure Energy Centre.
The new study looked at Hydrogen Community Projects and has identified that the renewable energy industry can greatly benefit from Hydrogen powered vehicles to increase the deployment of wind, hydro and other renewable schemes.
The study was managed by Unst Partnership Ltd and financially supported by Local Energy Scotland’s CARES Infrastructure and Innovation fund (LECF).
Can energy storage really make a change to communities?
The issue of grid constraint was investigated and potential solutions explored through the use of Off Grid green energy storage solutions. The aim was to find answers to the problems experienced by small rural communities anywhere around the world.
For many years remote communities have faced difficulties when planning to install wind turbines and other forms of renewables because of the lack of available electrical grid connections. This has not only restricted the deployment of renewables in many parts of the country, but has also prevented communities from capitalising on renewable incentives such as the feed-In-Tariff (FIT).
Effectively this meant that some communities around the UK and beyond, who had significant renewable energy resources, could not get the FIT income for their communities. This has been a significant blow for many communities as they were, in effect, excluded from renewable energy deployment and associated income, due to their location being far away from everything.
Thanks to LECF funding support, a study was commissioned which suggests that energy storage technologies could help resolve some of the grid issues. The study outlined that electricity produced by renewable energy systems such as wind or solar can be stored as fuel for cars, vans, buses and even ferries.
What renewable hydrogen energy storage means to communities?
This means there is no need for the renewable electricity to be sent anywhere else through overhead lines. This also means that there is no need to stop the renewable generation to stabilise the grid. With the solutions proposed within the study, the renewable generation can now be used locally for local applications.
The study looked favourably at off grid renewable schemes. In these schemes, any excess generated electricity would be stored as hydrogen fuel. The hydrogen would be produced through electrolysis from water (water is split from H2O to H2 and O2 gases). The primary use of renewably generated electricity would still be to power local appliances such as lighting etc. with only the excess being stored as hydrogen.
The study also identified the potential for such schemes to be deployed in collaboration with the grid owner as an on grid solution for balancing the grid. For example, a hydrogen energy storage system could be connected to the electrical grid and switched on whenever renewable power was in surplus. This would avoid curtailing some of the renewable systems, but also increase the penetration of renewables where it was previously sometimes not possible to install a system.
Dr Ross Gazey, Technical Director of Pure Energy Centre said ‘in this piece of work we investigated several potential projects, many of which can be implemented within communities. We looked at producing green hydrogen fuel from excess renewable energy to supply cars and other transportation. We also looked at the production of green nitrogen that could be used by the oil and gas industry.‘
He added ‘We asked ourselves what could be done with the by product from theelectrolysis process, oxygen. We identified a number of applications such as welding, medical oxygen for the NHS to supply their hospitals.‘
Can the farming and aquaculture benefit from this?
Other potential projects that the study investigated were for the aquaculture sector and the farming industry. Elizabeth Johnson MBE, Pure Energy Centre Business Development Manager said ‘farming and the aquaculture sectors are looking to find means to reduce their operating costs. What we have done in this study is to provide concrete solutions that can be applied today to increase their viability.’
She added ‘As a business, we speak a lot to the farming and aquaculture industry. In effect what we want to see is the deployment of solutions specifically made for farmers and everything that deals with the aquacuture. We want to make these industries financially stronger, better at reducing their emissions and more efficient by providing them with solutions that help them. This is exactly what renewable hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen can do.’
The Study is now being examined by the Unst Partnership and Unst Community Council with a view to applying for further funding to develop some of these projects. They may also be of interest to other communities looking to deploy off-grid solutions which could reduce their transport or running costs. At the same time, these solutions could provide an income to Community groups.
Gordon Thomson, Chair of the Unst Partnership, an organisation set up to support community developments in Unst said ‘I am very pleased that we managed to receive funding from Energy Scotland’s CARES Infrastructure and Innovation fund (LECF). This study is great for our community where we can continue to build on the hard work that has been ongoing for the last ten years in testing and understanding energy storage technologies.’
He added ‘I am happy with the different options identified in the report for our community and I hope that we can take some of these to the next stage. I am also open to the prospect of working with other communities within the UK and beyond.’
What is needed for renewable hydrogen to take off?
The study concluded that many projects can be deployed within a very short timeframe as long as there are appropriate support mechanisms for deploying the different technologies.
Further editorial information About Pure Energy Centre:
Pure Energy Centre is redefining the renewable market with its adaptive energy storage platform that can be used in conjunction with smart grids. Pure Energy Centre storage solutions enable the consolidation of weak grids enabling for further and quicker deployment of renewable (wind, solar, marine energy, etc).
The Pure Energy Centre technology provides grid owners the means to resolve their balancing issues while allowing for an effective use of excess energy in both the transport and stationary applications. At the same time Pure Energy Centre delivers superior energy storage technology versatility (hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, battery, etc), while simplifying business operations and lowering costs with tangible smart grid and virtual power plants benefits.
At the heart of the energy storage platform is a large portfolio of intellectual property and trade secrets that allows the company to quickly respond customer’s needs. The Pure Energy Centre supply solutions around the world with customers in South Africa, South America, Middle East, Asia and Europe. For more information about Pure Energy Centre, visit www.pureenergycentre.com.
The Pure Energy Centre, Pure Energy, PURE, and Pure Hydrogen are trademarks or registered trademarks of Pure Energy Centre. Other trade names or words used in this document are the properties of their respective owners.