On May 15, 2018 the official opening of ‘Building Innovative Green Hydrogen Systems in an Isolated Territory’, BIG HIT project took place in Kirkwall, the Orkney Islands,in  Scotland providing a blue print for renewable hydrogen deployment for island systems and new hydrogen territories. The project funded by the FCH JU will enable more renewable energy to be produced and used locally in the Orkney Islands.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “We are very supportive of the BIG HIT initiative because it will help alleviate grid constraints in the Orkney Islands by enabling excess renewable energy generated locally, but what cannot be transmitted to the mainland to be stored and used to produce hydrogen. As a versatile and low carbon energy solution, hydrogen therefore has the great potential to play an important role in transport, heating, and industry. “This innovative project will add to our growing understanding of the potential role of hydrogen in Scotland’s future energy system, as identified in Scotland’s Energy Strategy which I published in December. “The Scottish Government has already supported a number of world-leading hydrogen demonstration projects, such as; the Orkney Surf‘n’Turf project; and the introduction of zero emission hydrogen buses and hydrogen refuelling stations in Aberdeen.”

Orkney Islands Council Leader James Stockan said: “Orkney is at the heart of the BIG HIT project, which aims to demonstrate how hydrogen produced locally using renewable energy can be used sustainably in ways which benefit islands and other remote communities. Our community is the ideal test bed for this important initiative. The Council has ambitions to become carbon neutral and so it was great to see the Council’s new zero-emission vans – the first vehicles to have a ‘fill-up’ of Orkney-produced hydrogen – at the launch event, providing clear evidence that BIG HIT is up and running.”

Mark Hull, Head of Innovation for Community Energy Scotland: “The launch of this project is the hard earned result of a truly unique partnership of technical, public and local community partners coming together. We are looking forward to seeing it not only lead the way internationally, but also create real benefit to the local community, especially in Shapinsay and Eday.”

Neil Kermode, Managing Director of the European Marine Energy Centre: “By piloting the generation of hydrogen from renewable energy sources, BIG HIT is helping avoid grid shortcomings, while supporting further development of renewable energy projects in Orkney. It is breaking through the barriers to delivering renewable transport and heat, opening up new markets around the world.”

Photo: Courstesy ITM Power