Eighty new multimillion-pound projects designed to turn Scotland into one of the renewable energy powerhouses of Europe were unveiled yesterday.

Nicol Stephen, the Deputy First Minister, in two separate announcements in Aberdeen and St Andrews, revealed a string of new green energy projects which will cost £11.5m to fund.

Hydrogen and fuel cells are part of the future of the renewables industry and it has been estimated the sector has the potential to net £500m for the Scottish economy and support 10,000 jobs.

Six schemes announced yesterday will develop new technology for the energy industry. The rest are biomass projects which involve using plant material, such as wood, agricultural waste and vegetable oils, to produce fuel.

Among the schemes that will receive grants are plans to create a carbon-free distillery on Islay and a housing association that will install biomass heating in 128 new homes on Skye. One of the projects, the Seaton combined heat and power district heating scheme, will deliver heat to up to 1000 homes in Aberdeen while saving more than 3800 tonnes of CO2 each year and reducing fuel bills by more than 60%.

Mr Stephen said: "I am determined Scotland becomes the renewable energy powerhouse of Europe. We have a real opportunity to be leaders in the green energy industry and these biomass projects represent a significant step forward."

Later, Mr Stephen toured the labs of the St Andrews Fuel Cells company, one of the most cutting-edge projects involved in energy research in the world.

Among the plans by Professor John Irvine of St Andrews University and his team is to create a lighter, more fuel-efficient power source for yachts and caravans to replace the current diesel generator. Their long-term aim is to create a combined unit in kitchens which produces both heat and electricity.

Mr Stephen said: "This investment in new technology is not just about tackling climate change. The development of hydrogen and fuel cells could give a significant boost for job creation and economic growth."