Hydrogen-powered cars could be a step closer to reality thanks to a major study in the North Isles.
The project by Pure Energy in Unst has found energy storage technologies may help resolve some of the major grid issues faced by remote communities.
Grid constraints have for long been at the heart of problems faced by renewable projects – despite Shetland enjoying significant energy resources.
But it is now believed electricity produced by renewable energy systems, such as solar or wind, could be stored – as hydrogen –as fuel for cars, vans, buses or even ferries.
Using the fuel locally, the experts say, should negate the need for that electricity to be sent anywhere else.
Technical director of Pure Energy, Ross Gazey, said: “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.”
Although managed in Unst, the study was supported financially by Local Energy Scotland’s Cares Infrastructure and Innovation Fund (IIF).
Other potential projects investigated were for the aquaculture sector and the farming industry.
Pure’s business development manager, Elizabeth Johnson said: “Farming and the aquaculture sectors are looking to find a 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.
“As a business we speak a lot to the farming and aquaculture industry and what we want to see is the deployment of solutions that make them financially stronger, better at reducing their emissions and more efficient by providing them with solutions that help them.”
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 the projects.
This study is great for our community where we can continue to build on the hard work that has been ongoing for the last 10 years in testing and understanding energy storage technologies – GORDON THOMSON
It is thought they may also be of interest to other communities keen on the idea of off-grid services which could reduce transport or running costs, while at the same time providing an income to a hall or community group.
Unst Partnership was set up to support community developments in the isle.
Its chairman, Gordon Thomson, said he was delighted to have received external funding for the project.
“This study is great for our community where we can continue to build on the hard work that has been ongoing for the last 10 years in testing and understanding energy storage technologies,” he said.
“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.”
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.
The use of hydrogen is of growing interest in both public and private sectors.