Photo: Courtesy: EMEC

EMEC to fuse tidal power and flow batteries for green hydrogen

European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has purchased a 1.8 MWh vanadium flow battery (VFB) system from Invinity Energy Systems.

EMEC will deploy the flow battery at its tidal energy test site on the island of Eday.

A world-first project will combine flow battery technology with tidal power to produce continuous green hydrogen.

The project gets £1.8 million funding from the Scottish Government, via Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The manufacturing of the Invinity’s modular flow battery system will take place at the company’s facility in Bathgate, West Lothian.

It will consist of eight Invinity VS3 battery modules linked together into a single system.

According to EMEC and Invinity, the project should go live next year.

Invinity’s flow battery system should smooth output from tidal electric generation and provide consistent power to EMEC’s hydrogen production plant.

The complete system, combining tidal power, energy storage, and electrolysers, should create hydrogen without emitting carbon at any stage.

EMEC selected Invinity’s flow batteries for this application due to their ability to perform multiple cycles per day without degradation. This is due to variability of tidal generation, with two high and two low tides occurring each day.

Scotland’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

“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.”

Neil Kermode, managing director at EMEC, said:

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.”

Larry Zulch, chief executive officer at Invinity, also said:

“This far-sighted project demonstrates how Invinity’s vanadium flow batteries can accelerate the commercialization of producing hydrogen from renewable energy sources such as tidal power.