The Cromarty Firth could play host to the UK’s largest green hydrogen facility after the North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme carried out a feasibility study.
On 23 July, ScottishPower announced that the programme’s Distilleries Project study, of which it is a part of, had identified a number of sites around the Cromarty Firth that could become the home of a 35MW electrolyser by 2024, producing up to 14 tonnes of green hydrogen per day. The study itself had explored the viability of a green hydrogen hub in the Firth, supplying distilleries in the region with hydrogen at a competitive price, helping to decarbonise their heating and processes when making whisky.
The Firth having a large regional concentration of renewable energy potential was deemed to be a key strength, with future offshore wind development sites capable of supplying the volume of power needed for the electrolyser. It also has significant existing infrastructure already, a proven track record of success in renewables, an experienced local supply chain and strong links to industry, transport and heat networks.
After the successful feasibility study, the project will now advance into its next stage of development. This will involve detailed engineering, community engagement and commercial development, preparing the project for a final investment decision by 2023. The aim would then be for the electrolyser to be in place by 2024 as the project follows a phased development plan, meeting local and distillery demands and proving the technology at this scale initially, before an expansion of green hydrogen in its second phase to meet growing energy demands nationally and internationally.