Hydrogen fuel inlet

Scottish Power commits to raft of green hydrogen projects in the Highlands

Image credit: E&T/Stock57/Shutterstock

A series of green hydrogen projects will be built in the Scottish Highlands that will provide heat for industrial facilities across the region including distilleries and transportation hubs.

The projects are led by Scottish Power and Storegga and are expected to deliver hundreds of megawatts of green hydrogen production capacity before the end of the decade, with plans for the first facility to be operating by 2024.

Hydrogen production is typically delineated into ‘green’ methods, which can be carbon neutral through the use of electrolysis to separate it from water, and blue hydrogen, which is not carbon neutral as it is produced by splitting natural gas.

Blue hydrogen can only be described as a net-zero carbon fuel when used in conjunction with carbon capture and storage; furthermore, studies have found that blue hydrogen is more carbon-intensive as a source of heat than natural gas, coal, or diesel.

Green hydrogen is currently two to three times more expensive than blue hydrogen, which means most hydrogen produced globally is blue.

The first project to be progressed in Scotland will be the Cromarty Hydrogen Project, located just north of Inverness. The project is designed to deliver up to 20 tonnes of green hydrogen per day from 2024 and has the potential to scale to 300MW in a series of modular expansion phases.

It will displace existing fossil fuel sources and enable the supply of green hydrogen into the heating processes of distilleries, with additional potential application to other local manufacturing, food production, and industrial heating applications.

Barry Carruthers, hydrogen director at Scottish Power said: “This is a really exciting milestone in our ambitions to support the growth of green hydrogen production across the country and the decarbonisation of heavy industry.

“We can now get to work on turning plans on paper into tangible and deliverable projects that will transform industry in the Highlands – making a long and lasting difference for people, businesses and communities.

"We’re excited to be working with Storegga to help create a clean energy future for this stunning and vital economic region of Scotland.”

Andrew Brown, head of hydrogen at Storegga, said: “The Cromarty Green Hydrogen Project is expected to be the UK’s largest green hydrogen facility when it commences operations in 2024, and is expected to rapidly expand thereafter.

“Storegga has been working with the distilling sector on the energy transition since 2014. In 2019, the Scotch Whisky Association’s 'Pathway to Net Zero' report identified that hydrogen would play a key role in enabling net zero for the distilling sector.”

Last month, the UK government announced a £375m support package to spur the development of innovative energy technologies including green hydrogen following tightened oil and gas supplies in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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