EMEC: Tidal energy to produce hydrogen

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Tidal energy generated at EMEC test sites will be used to produce hydrogen that will be stored and used later for a variety of different schemes and ideas.

Proposals to produce hydrogen from marine renewables projects have been put forward by EMEC.

The center is worried that grid restraints in Orkney might drive potential customers elsewhere, unless a practical measure to use electricity in some other way is implemented.

EMEC is convinced that the production of hydrogen from the electricity is the key to keep EMEC at the forefront of marine renewables energy sector.

Due to a high number of marine renewables sources being connected to the grid in Orkney, a new grid cable is necessary for connecting more wave and tidal devices – but that is unlikely to happen in the next 5 years.

Neil Kermode said for the BBC Orkney that “from the wave and tidal energy testing point of view we (EMEC) can’t wait for 5 years.”

He added that the solution for this is turning the electricity produced from tidal turbines into hydrogen, and then using it for different schemes and ideas.

Hydrogen produced would be stored to cylinders, and later used for number of things, including the production of fuel cells.

This would enable the testing of wave and tidal devices to be continued at Orkney, without the electricity produced going to waste.

EMEC has posted a tender to the Public Procurement Scotland website, and the centre expects to get the Expressions of Interest within the next few weeks.

“We expect to have this installed and working within the next year. People are doing this all around the world already in some respects, but nobody is doing it from tidal energy, and nobody faces the same grid constraints as we face here in Orkney. This is the big opportunity and will help us break out of the corner we find ourselves in due to the inadequacies in the grid. We’re really keen to make sure that we can always say to people: ‘yes – bring your machine along, bring it in and test it’. So finding a way to use the energy is absolutely critical,” said Neil Kermode.

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Image: EMEC

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