Innovative Green Hydrogen shore power trial launched at the Port of Leith

26/01/2024

 A CONSORTIUM of four Scottish renewable and maritime companies have been awarded a UK Government Department for Transport grant of over £535,000 to develop an innovative UK-first approach that will use clean, green hydrogen energy to reduce carbon emissions from vessels when berthed in port. 

Supported by Forth Ports, the highly innovative trial will see the large tugs operating out of The Port of Leith powered by green hydrogen when tied up. The green hydrogen will be produced from treated wastewater from a nearby water treatment works, without compromising local water supplies. 

The year-long trial, run by partners Forth Ports, Waterwhelm, Logan Energy and PlusZero, will deliver a state-of-the-art demonstrator system for green hydrogen shore power which marine vessels can use when they are berthed, removing the need for the diesel-powered systems which are currently in use on some quaysides. 

The project draws together leading Scottish innovation and technology with sustainability expertise from the water, energy and transport sectors, and will be the first of its kind to be demonstrated at a UK port – leading the way for a circular economy approach to port decarbonisation across the country. The project will act as a precursor to the deployment of green hydrogen in shore power supply to large ships and vessels, addressing an important challenge in decarbonising the maritime industry, particularly in remote locations or areas where a connection to the main electricity grid is not available. 

Alasdair Smith, Commercial Director of Targe Towing, part of the Forth Ports group, said:

“This is an exciting project for Forth Ports and Targe Towing as we work towards our commitment to reduce carbon emissions across Forth Ports group operations by 2032, and becoming net zero by 2042. 

“Our tug fleet currently uses diesel-powered generators to provide electricity when tied up in port. This new green hydrogen system shows how tugs or other vessels can be completely emission-free whilst berthed.

“The project will also serve to widen our knowledge and experience of working with hydrogen, which provides a foundation for future endeavours towards a net zero future. We look forward to starting this project with our partners in the Spring.”

Using specialist water treatment technology provided by Waterwhelm, fresh re-use water will be made from wastewater from the treatment works site in Seafield, Edinburgh, which will then be used to produce hydrogen at Leith Port. 

Waterwhelm’s leading technology enables water re-use and desalination processes to operate at significantly lower pressure, providing lower maintenance benefits as well as a world-beating reduction in electricity consumption and carbon emissions.

Dr Richard Wood, Research and Developer Manager and Engineer from Waterwhelm said:

“Following a successful feasibility study, we are delighted to be partnering with Forth Ports, Logan Energy and PlusZero to deliver a combined state-of-the-art demonstrator system at the Port of Leith for the production, storage and utilisation of green hydrogen to supply green shore power. 

“Waterwhelm’s system will utilise waste heat and wastewater to produce re-use water for electrolysis – a new, innovative approach which is much needed to support the drive towards decarbonisation whilst reducing the upcoming demand on local water networks.”

Green hydrogen specialist partners Logan Energy and PlusZero will apply their expertise to bring the clean power solution to the port – a significant collaboration that highlights major strides in Scottish hydrogen innovation. 

Using a process known as electrolysis, East Lothian-based Logan Energy’s electrolyser technology will split the re-use water into oxygen and hydrogen. 

The hydrogen will then be used as a clean fuel for PlusZero’s combustion engine which will generate green electricity to provide shore power for the tug boats when they are in port, replacing the need for polluting diesel generators. 

Bill Ireland, Chief Executive Officer of Logan Energy said:

“Hydrogen-based solutions can play a pivotal role in decarbonisation and achieving net-zero targets both in the UK and globally.  We’re honoured to be part of this consortium that can develop one such application where our innovative solutions can benefit UK industry.

“Logan Energy’s fully integrated system approach will take green energy and Waterwhelm’s clean water supply and produce, compress, and store hydrogen for the purpose of powering PlusZero’s equipment, without producing any emissions.  This will be a key demonstration within the marine sector that can be easily replicated elsewhere.”

David Amos, Managing Director at PlusZero said:

“There is a huge amount of momentum behind hydrogen as an accelerator to the global energy transition. PlusZero’s ready-to-go clean power solution replaces the need for polluting diesel generators across multiple sectors of the economy – construction, events and production, and the industrial sectors.

“We are delighted to be demonstrating the true promise of this technology alongside our partners and Forth Ports, a company which is already leading the way in making Scotland’s renewables future a reality.”

The project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 4 (CMDC4), funded by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered by Innovate UK. CMDC4 is part of the Department’s UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) programme, a £206m initiative focused on developing the technology necessary to decarbonise the UK domestic maritime sector.

The UK Government Department for Transport Maritime Minister Lord Davies said:

“Unlocking a sustainable maritime sector and the economic growth it provides relies on cutting edge technology to propel it to the next level. The voyage to sustainability demands bold investments to not just deliver greener shipping but highly skilled jobs across the UK.

“Transformative solutions can help shape the future landscape of the maritime industry and support jobs in coastal communities.”

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