SCOTTISH energy giant SSE has announced plans to produce hydrogen at a windfarm in the Highlands that could be used as an alternative to fuels such as petrol which entail higher carbon emissions.

Perth-based SSE said it will install a green hydrogen electrolyser at the Gordonbush windfarm in Sutherland in a move it expects will support the drive to decarbonise sectors such as manufacturing and power generation.

The company noted: “The production of green hydrogen … uses zero carbon electricity from renewable sources such as wind power to separate water into its component parts of oxygen and hydrogen in a process called electrolysis.

“The hydrogen produced as a result can then be stored and distributed to potential transport, heating and manufacturing customers.”

SSE also intends to develop a battery storage facility at Gordonbush. This could be used to store power generated by the windfarm at times of low demand for energy.

Directors reckon the hydrogen production plant and battery storage facility will help SSE maximise the potential of the windfarm to help reduce emissions, while providing a boost to the local supply chain.

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Annant Shah, Director of Strategy and Route to Market, SSE Renewables, said: “Combining electrolyser and battery technology with wind farms could be a game changer in solving the renewables variability challenge and shows the potential for wind power to help enhance energy security by reducing our reliance on imported gas.”

SSE expects to produce around 2,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year at Gordonbush. This would be enough to power five medium distilleries, 34 offshore windfarm service vessels or 275 buses.

It plans to use electrolyser technology supplied by Siemens Gamesa, which has headquarters in Spain. Siemens Gamesa supplied turbines for Gordonbush.

‘Blue’ hydrogen is produced from natural gas. The carbon dioxide produced as part of the process is expected to be captured and stored.