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by Sofia Villegas
27 June 2024
Scotland could become “major player” in green hydrogen market, report suggests

Energy hubs concept | NZTC

Scotland could become “major player” in green hydrogen market, report suggests

A Scottish innovation centre has launched a strategy to unlock Scotland’s potential to become a leading international exporter of green hydrogen.

The Net Zero Technology Centre  (NZTC) has launched a phased plan to develop a network of energy hubs to help scale up hydrogen production.

Currently, the European Union plans to import 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030, an estimate which offers Scotland an opportunity to become “a major player in the future energy mix”, Darren Gee at the NZTC said.

The first phase of the ‘Energy Hubs: Fill the Backbone’ project focuses on the infrastructure, long-term investment, and technological innovation required to build commercially viable and efficient hubs across Scotland, with the potential to reach 35GWof hydrogen production capacity by 2045 – 10GW more than the Scottish Government’s target.

A key recommendation calls for the upgrade of floating offshore wind. Given it would power the energy hubs, innovation in such infrastructure would ensure production costs remain low, allowing Scottish hydrogen to remain cost-competitive with other globally sourced hydrogen, the report said.

Similarly, the report also pushed for more innovation in electrolyser technologies to boost production efficiency and reduce system costs.

Electrolysers use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen and the tech is a critical part of producing low-emission hydrogen from renewable electricity. 

Other recommendations highlighted the need for high-efficiency storage with gigawatt-hour capacities. Such facilities would complement renewable energy intermittency, given it cannot consistently produce energy throughout the day, the report said.

Phase two of the project will focus on creating a ‘super hub’ which would integrate large-scale energy hubs, optimising their combined performance.

Allocated £4m and co-funded by the Scottish Government and industry, the project complements the centre's ‘hydrogen backbone link’ report, which is an over-arching plan that details the transport infrastructure required to deliver a cost-effective hydrogen pipeline between Scotland and Europe.

The centre claims the new pipeline could satisfy up to 10 per cent of Europe’s projected hydrogen import demand by mid-2030.

To meet the demands of the link, energy hubs will have to produce around 900,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year.

The ‘Energy Hubs: Fill the Backbone’ project will conclude in November 2025.  

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