ITM Power, a clean fuel company, has been awarded a €2.27m ($2.57m) EU grant for its role in the Building Innovative Green Hydrogen systems in an Isolated Territory (BIG HIT) project.

Funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), the UK-based company will provide the electrolyser used in the scheme, which will receive €5m ($5.7m) in total funding.

Presently, the Shapinsay and Eday wind turbines on the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland are often deficient, losing an average of more than 30% of their annual output. The aim of this plan is to produce (hydrogen) H2 from this curtailed energy via electrolysis, utilising renewable energy sources with a low carbon footprint.

This new initiative will see the construction of a new H2 refuelling station near Kirkwall and will deploy 10 electric vans, each fitted with a H2 fuel cell range extender.

Potential scope

Additionally, and in order to demonstrate the potential scope that H2 also has for heat uses in the Scottish city, BIG HIT will install two H2-powered boilers to provide zero carbon heat.

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, commented, “BIG HIT is a major step in turning the Orkney Islands into a genuine H2 territory. The deployment of 1.5MW of electrolysis and the operation of H2 logistics to provide a transport fuel and renewable heat is a very important part of that process.” 

The BIG HIT project builds upon work already done by the Orkney Surf ‘n’ Turf initiative, which utilises wind and tidal energy on the Eday and Shapinsay islands to produce H2.