Dedicated energy hubs needed to transform Scotland into leading hydrogen producer

Darren Gee (Net Zero Technology Centre)

THE Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC), has launched its ‘Energy Hubs: Fill the Backbone’ report, providing recommendations that will help scale Scotland’s hydrogen production potential and establish itself as a leading exporter of green hydrogen through the development of large-scale energy hubs.

Phase one of the Energy Hubs project examined the infrastructure, long-term investment, and technological innovations that will enable commercially viable and efficient energy hubs located in several key locations in Scotland, with the potential to reach 35 GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2045.

To realise this potential and capitalise on future export opportunities, the report recommends action including:

  • Rapid investment targeted at next generation technologies and manufacturing processes to accelerate floating offshore wind
  • Innovations in electrolyser technologies to improve the efficiency of hydrogen production while reducing system costs
  • Development of highly efficient energy storage facilities with GWh capacities
  • Optimising the integration of energy vectors within Energy Hubs, along with exploring further opportunities in alternative fuels and byproducts

Phase two of the project will continue to focus on the challenges of hydrogen and alternative fuels production while exploring the concept of a ‘Super Hub’. This will involve integrating several large-scale Energy Hubs to optimise their combined performance and achieve economies of scale, enhancing competitive export potential.

The Energy Hubs Project, which received funding from the Scottish Government’s Energy Transition Fund (ETF) and matched funding from industry, complements NZTC’s ‘Hydrogen Backbone Link’ project, which demonstrates the feasibility of exporting 0.9 million tonnes of hydrogen per year from Scotland to Europe via a new dedicated hydrogen pipeline. Several large-scale Energy Hubs, housing the necessary facilities for hydrogen production and its derivatives, will be crucial to the success of the Hydrogen Backbone Link.

Darren Gee, Programme Manager NZTTP at NZTC, said: “As the European hydrogen market expands, Scotland has the opportunity to establish itself as a leading producer and exporter of green hydrogen, positioning it as a major player in the future energy mix.

“The Energy Hubs project marks the formulation of an actionable plan for large-scale hydrogen production, underscoring the critical need for investment, infrastructure, and technological innovation. To address identified challenges, accelerating the development of smaller-scale projects is crucial. This approach will allow us to gain experience and establish a robust supply chain capable of supporting the pivotal large-scale projects necessary to seize this opportunity.”

The first phase of project has received support from partners including Altera, Crown Estate Scotland, EnQuest, Kellas Midstream, Port of Aberdeen, Shell, Shetland Island Council, SLB, Subsea 7, Verlume, Wood, Wood Mackenzie and Worley.

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