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The Orkney-based initiative focuses on the production of hydrogen, which will be converted to electricity by a fuel cell for use in the auxiliary engines of inter-island ferries whilst at berth in Kirkwall.

The pioneering community project was launched on 27 September when the Scottish Government’s Business, Innovation & Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, unveiled a newly installed hydrogen fuel cell at Kirkwall Pier.

Surf ‘n’ Turf focuses on the production of hydrogen as a non-carbon emitting clean fuel that has a range of uses, including the supply of electricity and as a transport fuel for vehicles or ships. It is led by Community Energy Scotland, working with project partners EMEC (the European Marine Energy Centre), Orkney Islands Council, Eday Renewable Energy, and ITM Power.

The fuel cell is the final element of a hydrogen generation system being developed in Orkney as part of the pilot project, which is working to circumvent local grid constraints by generating hydrogen from tidal and wind energy.

Other elements of the system include an electrolyser which has been installed at EMEC’s tidal test site on the island of Eday, and which produced the world’s first tidal-powered hydrogen in August this year.

The Surf ’n’ Turf project has received £1.3m of Scottish Government funding through the CARES programme and Local Energy Challenge Fund.

At the event on Wednesday, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, commented: ‘Hydrogen energy technologies are in the early stages of development in Scotland but there is growing global awareness of their potential in the decarbonisation of heat, industry and transport.

‘We are actively considering what role hydrogen can play in Scotland’s future energy system as part of the Scottish Energy Strategy, and projects like Surf ‘n’ Turf have a very important role to play in informing that work.’

Mark Hull, Community Energy Scotland’s Head of Innovation, added: ‘This hydrogen pilot has been the best opportunity for Eday due to their location, type of grid limitations, its fantastic energy resource and the chance to power the local ferries with Orkney’s own fuel. We are proud, together with the community and partners, to have cleared the hurdles and reached this milestone.’

EUROPE: New survey results highlight strong European interest in fuel cells and hydrogen projects

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