By Ian McConnell

H2Tec, a subsidiary of Edinburgh-based Logan Energy, has won a contract to perform upgrades to the European Marine Energy Centre’s hydrogen production plant in Orkney.

The firm will perform the upgrades as part of the €11.7 million, Integrating Tidal Energy into the European Grid project, funded by the European Union. H2Tec will procure, install, test and commission an essential pipework-control panel to connect newly generated hydrogen to on-site storage tanks. EMEC’s hydrogen production facilities were installed on the island of Eday to harness surplus wind and tidal power to generate hydrogen through electrolysis.

The hydrogen stores the excess energy, which can then be used locally when needed, helping to decarbonise power, heat and transport applications.

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The ITEG project, due for completion in 2021, will develop a combined tidal energy and hydrogen production solution, helping to address grid-export limitations faced in remote communities.

H2Tec’s program upgrades will support this effort by using new and existing equipment to improve efficiency between the hydrogen production plant and storage facilities at the site at Caldale on Eday.

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The Integrating Tidal Energy into the European Grid project is funded by the European Union’s regional development body, Interreg North-West Europe.

Bill Ireland, chief executive of Logan Energy and H2Tec, said: “The Orkney Islands, and the sea around them, possess fantastic natural energy resources, which cannot be fully utilised at present because of the islands’ limited grid connection with mainland Scotland. Oftentimes, capacity restrictions in power cables lead to wind energy production being capped, in a process known as curtailment but hydrogen generation from renewables can offer a solution by storing energy that would otherwise be wasted.”

“Orkney already generates over 100% of its electricity demand from renewables every year, but the grid limitations confine Orkney’s export potential. It is important that we ensure the full potential of our renewable alternatives are being harnessed, and that operational challenges are overcome."