BIG HIT opens on Orkney Islands


Orkney, a group of sparsely populated islands in northern Scotland, will soon become the site for a whole systems installation to test a hydrogen supply chain. The project about producing, storing, delivering and utilizing the gas in heat and electricity production, as well as transportation, was inaugurated May 15 through 16, 2018, in Kirkwall.

More accurately, there are two projects. The first is the Surf ‘n’ Turf initiative (see H2-international, September 2016). Supported with GBP 1.5 million from Scotland’s Local Energy Challenge Fund, it laid the groundwork for BIG HIT. Although the initiative was officially launched no earlier than last September, its members began to get the wind and tidal power plants on the northern island of Eday ready for producing hydrogen in April 2016. At the start of BIG HIT, short for Building Innovative Green Hydrogen Systems in an Isolated Territory, ITM then installed a 0.5-megawatt PEM electrolyzer in Kirkwall and a 1-megawatt one at Shapinsay’s wind turbine, which was commissioned in 2011. Both sites produce and store about 50 tons of hydrogen before it is transported by five Calvera trailers and shipped off the island to Kirkwall.


Kirkwall is situated on Orkney’s main island, called Mainland, and lies about 6 kilometers south of Shapinsay. It has a seaport heated and powered by a 75-kilowatt Proton Motor fuel cell unit that is made up of three PM 400 stacks. Soon, the system, which was installed by Arcola Energy last year, may additionally be used to power the onboard systems of three ferries, to reduce local emissions while they are at berth.

Likewise, the hydrogen is planned to drive a fleet of electric vans, via a fueling station in Kirkwall. Symbio added a 5-kilowatt fuel cell to each of 10 Renault Kangoo Z.E. Maxi vehicles, usually equipped with a 22-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, to double their range. In all, the project has 12 partners based in six EU countries.;


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