The Orkney Islands have over 50MW of installed wind, wave, and tidal capacity, generating over 46GWhr per year of renewable power, and has been a net exporter of electricity since 2013. Unfortunately, the wind turbines at Shapinsay and Eday, two of the Orkney islands, are often ‘curtailed’, losing on average more than 30% of their annual output. In addition, their electricity output is limited by grid capacity restrictions in Orkney.
This is where BIG HIT comes in.
ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, has been awarded a €5m EU grant for the BIG HIT (Building Innovative Green Hydrogen systems in an Isolated Territory) project funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (“FCH JU”). The FCH JU selected BIG HIT as the only hydrogen project in its Hydrogen Territories tender to receive funding. ITM Power is the electrolyser provider and will receive €2.27m over five years.
BIG HIT builds on foundations laid by the Orkney Surf ‘n’ Turf initiative, which will see production of hydrogen through electrolysis of water, using power from the otherwise curtailed community-owned wind turbines on the islands of Shapinsay and Eday, as well as tidal energy. These are both world leading pilot and demonstration projects, which deploy a fully integrated model of hydrogen production, storage, transportation, and utilization for low carbon heat, power, and transportation. These projects address a number of operation and development challenges including the logistical and regulatory aspects for transport of hydrogen fuel between islands, and the orientation and familiarization with new hydrogen building and transport technologies.
BIG HIT will enable the deployment of 10 electric vans, which will each be fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell range extender. A hydrogen refueling station will be constructed in or near Kirkwall at a site to be selected. The hydrogen fuel cells in these adapted vans will give them a greater range than their battery-powered electric counterparts. In order to demonstrate the potential scope hydrogen also has for heat uses in Orkney, BIG HIT will install two hydrogen-powered boilers at suitable premises to provide zero carbon heat.
Dr Graham Cooley, CEO, ITM Power commented, “Big Hit is a major step in turning the Orkney Islands into a genuine Hydrogen Territory. The deployment of 1.5MW of electrolysis and the operation of hydrogen logistics to provide a transport fuel and renewable heat is a very important part of that process.”
ITM Power manufactures integrated hydrogen energy solutions which are rapid response and high pressure that meet the requirements for grid balancing and energy storage services, and for the production of clean fuel for transport, renewable heat, and chemicals. ITM Power plc was admitted to the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in 2004 and is a founder member of the Social Stock Exchange. The company received £4.9m as a strategic investment from JCB in March 2015, signed a forecourt siting agreement with Shell in September 2015, and a fuel agreement with Toyota in October 2015. The Company currently has £13.80m of projects under contract and a further £6.28m of contracts in the final stages of negotiation constituting a total pipeline of £20.08m.
ITM Power has now made the transition from a research and development company to a product manufacturer and technology provider.
The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) is a unique public private partnership supporting research, technological development and demonstration activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe. Its aim is to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies, realizing their potential as an instrument in achieving a carbon-lean energy system. The three members of the FCH JU are the European Commission, fuel cell and hydrogen industries represented by the NEW Industry Grouping, and the research community represented by Research Grouping N.ERGHY.