Hydrogen opportunities could beckon

Could Shetland be on the cusp of a wave of hydrogen projects?

Elected members have agreed to launch a study which could lead to more use of the new, green energy produced using hydrogen.

Project manager at the council’s economic development, Maurice Henderson, outlined the “scope” for hydrogen research in the town hall this week.

He told the development committee of a plan to examine projects in other local authority areas throughout the UK, Europe and Scandinavia and explore ways of funding hydrogen opportunities.

West Side councillor, Frank Robertson, said hydrogen opportunities were already being highlighted to good effect elsewhere in the world, particularly in Iceland.

Describing hydrogen as one of the “fuels of the future”, he wondered whether the up-and-coming power source would tie in with windfarm or tidal developments. Mr Henderson said there would be a “potential” for community-sized windfarm projects to help produce hydrogen power, although he stressed he was not “pre-empting” the findings of any research.

Mr Robertson said it was imperative “this generation” appreciated the need to find alternative sources of power.

“Power and energy is going to be the single most important factor facing future generations of Shetland, as the oil runs out or becomes more expensive.”

Michael Stout, who chairs the council’s transport body ZetTrans, said he was “personally enthusiastic” about the possibility of using hydrogen more. He said the SIC, as a local authority, needed to be thinking in a “joined up fashion” about hydrogen.

Mr Stout added using alternative energy such as hydrogen was “quite mainstream already”.
SIC Councillor Michael Stout pic 1
“We are behind the times of hydrogen being cutting edge. We need to have a good understanding of where the recent developments are. This is not about committing ourselves to spending lots of money. It’s about making sure we’re not being left behind.”

He highlighted buses being used in Aberdeen which used hydrogen power – although chairman Alastair Cooper said those vehicles ran on “brown” hydrogen which, according to depute leader Billy Fox, is “just taken off the [main electricity] grid,” rather than cleaner so-called “green” hydrogen.

Mr Fox said he hoped the investigations would use a “broad-brush” approach to see how, or where, hydrogen might fit in with the isles’ needs.

Mark Burgess picked up on a point in the report which showed the council would seek input from the private sector. He wondered how officials would “extract” information from businesses without having to give money for it.

“[Unst-based] Pure presumably wouldn’t be giving information away for nothing,” he said.
Any opportunities that may be highlighted in the review will be brought to the development committee in September.

The idea of using hydrogen is not a brand new one. The Unst Partnership Pure – Promot­ing Unst Renewable Energy – has already used renewables to create hydrogen.
One of the organisation’s main achievements was the creation 10 years ago of the UK’s first ever pure hydrogen car.

Five years ago it left the isle to take its place in the National Museums of Scotland.

Much more recently head of the council’s infrastructure department, Maggie Sandison, said the authority’s carbon commitment meant hydrogen could be used to power a future council ferry fleet to help the SIC reduce its carbon footprint.

On a big-business level, the meeting heard Toyota was planning to bring hydrogen power into commercial reality over the next decade.


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.