Part 2 – Building a Hydrogen Sector
Scotland’s businesses are well positioned to help support and join the emerging hydrogen economy. Established sectors such as oil and gas, subsea, maritime, onshore and offshore renewables, chemicals and petrochemicals, and aerospace contain a wealth of skills and capacity, and hydrogen represents an attractive diversification opportunity for those sectors as the nation continues its energy transition.
The developing hydrogen economy will require a strong domestic supply chain across the whole hydrogen value chain, including engineering, manufacturing, consultancy and design. Scottish companies are already engaged or actively interested in moving into the expanding hydrogen sector, and we will support businesses through our hydrogen supply chain development programme in order to mobilise investment along supply chains.
2.1 Support for innovation and demonstration
In recent years, the Scottish Government has supported a variety of projects that have helped demonstrate the use of hydrogen in the decarbonisation of key sectors. Alongside this portfolio of demonstration projects sits a suite of investments in crucial research and development. Alongside our aim to accelerate the development of industrial scale renewable hydrogen projects, we will also continue to foster demonstration, innovation and workforce skills development.
Actions we will take:
- Investing in early projects – We will encourage the public and private sector in Scotland to work together to demonstrate these technologies as much of the learning takes place before a single molecule of hydrogen is even produced.
- Building relationships – We will gain valuable knowledge of how to work with others to assess, approve, consent and regulate these projects, as well as to address deployment constraints and challenges, including high production costs.
- Mobilise investment – We will continue to support projects on the journey to decarbonisation.
Progress to date:
- Hydrogen Innovation Scheme (HIS) – In 2022 we launched our Hydrogen Innovation Scheme, designed to support research and innovation in hydrogen production, storage and distribution. The HIS has received high levels of market interest.
- The Scottish Hydrogen Innovation Network (SHINE) – Created in 2022, SHINE provides an entry point for Scottish and European companies to access more than twenty Scottish research and development centres in academic and commercial settings. The resulting innovations will increase the competitiveness of technologies and enable collaborative partnerships.
- Hydrogen Accelerator – The Hydrogen Accelerator, hosted by the University of St Andrews and supported by Scottish Government, brings together government, business and researchers to enable efficient implementation of hydrogen technologies and primarily focuses on the transport sector.
- Hydrogen buses – The Scottish Government, through the Energy Transition Fund, has contributed £15m over the past few years to assist the city of Aberdeen in its drive to deploy its fleet of hydrogen buses.
- Hydrogen for heavy duty vehicles – We have published the findings of the Scotland’s Zero Emission Mobility Industry Advisory Group (IAG) on enhancing Scotland as a destination for innovation and investment in the design and build of zero emission niche and heavy-duty vehicles, including those fuelled by hydrogen. We are also supporting the development of LOCATE, a drivetrain testing facility supporting the development of hydrogen niche and heavy duty vehicles.
- Zero Emission Mobility Innovation Fund – In June 2022, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, we launched the Zero Emission Mobility Innovation Fund to accelerate the manufacturing and deployment of heavy duty zero emission vehicles, including hydrogen vehicles.
- Hydrogen transport demonstrations – We have supported hydrogen demonstration projects in the transport sector including the development of Scotland’s first hydrogen powered train.
- H100 Fife project – The Scottish Government has provided £6.9m towards SGN’s H100 project to understand the role hydrogen can play in decarbonising heat using the gas network.
- Gordonbush Hydrogen project – SSE Renewables and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy plan to produce and deliver renewable hydrogen using renewable energy from SSE’s Gordonbush Extension Wind Farm in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands. The Gordonbush hydrogen project, with Scottish Government funding, will aim to demonstrate a replicable and low-cost solution as an enabler to move on to electrolysis at scale at demand centres and for export.
2.2 Sector development and supply chain capability
As part of our efforts to develop the supply chain in Scotland, it is important to communicate to companies operating in the energy and other sectors the scale of the future hydrogen economy in Scotland, UK and Europe and the potential opportunities this presents for Scottish companies.
Actions we will take:
- Support agencies – Our Enterprise Agencies stand ready to facilitate engagement throughout Scotland and support companies with capabilities that could be transitioned to the hydrogen sector. The Expert Support service offers tailored advice to companies interested in entering the hydrogen supply chain.
- Supportive policy – We will focus on creating positive socio-economic impact in the short and longer term aided by the development of a strong skills base to ensure Scotland’s hydrogen market develops early, with access to a skilled workforce and enabling a skills transition.
- Encourage Scotland’s academic and research – The Scottish Hydrogen Innovation Network (SHINE) will support the necessary close collaboration between academia, industry and governments to ensure knowledge exchange and learning across projects. This is needed to assist in closing key gaps in knowledge regarding the production and cost reduction, use, transport and storage of hydrogen as well as its integration into the wider energy system.
- Financial support – We will support the development of the earlier tiers of the supply chain by investing in innovation and demonstration to enable commercial scale-up.
Progress to date:
- Building A Hydrogen Sector event – This event, held by the Scottish Government in partnership with Transport Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and South of Scotland Enterprise, brought together over 200 representatives from business, government and academia in September 2022 to discuss emerging supply chain opportunities and how to develop capabilities in the hydrogen supply chain in Scotland.
- Enterprise Agencies events – A series of events led by the enterprise agencies were held earlier in 2022 in Inverness, Dumfries and Dundee with the aim to mobilise the development of the Scottish hydrogen supply chain and to maximise brokerage opportunities between producers, project developers and supply chain companies. There was an excess of 300 attendees in attendance across the three events, with many of these participants being new to exploring the supply chain or off-take opportunities. This has stimulated collaborations and follow-up activity across Scotland.
- Assessment of Electrolysers report – The Scottish Government commissioned Arup to deliver a study that considered electrolyser manufacturing globally to support a better understanding of the supply chain opportunities in Scotland. The report set out the component parts of the three main electrolyser technologies and provided an assessment of the existing companies operating in Scotland that possess the possible capability to manufacture electrolyser component parts, as well as recommendations to encourage higher levels of electrolyser manufacturing in Scotland.
2.3 Map of current and planned hydrogen projects
01 Eden Mill distillery
02 Glasgow Hydrogen Gritters
03 HECTOR project
06 HySeas III
08 HyTransit Project – Aberdeen Hydrogen Buses
09 Hytrec and Hytrec2
10 Kirkwall Airport Decarbonisation
11 Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC) for the transportation of hydrogen
12 Project HyLaddie
13 Scottish Hydrogen Train project
15 Uist Distilling Company
17 Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub
18 Aberdeen Vision
19 BIG HIT
20 GENCOMM – AD
21 ITEG – Integrating Tidal Energy into the European Grid
22 North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme
23 OHLEH – Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub
24 Orion Project
26 ReFLEX (Responsive Flexibility) Project
28 The PURE Project
29 Flotta Hydrogen Hub
30 Inverness hydrogen transport hub
31 Argyll Hydrogen Hub
34 Holistic Low-Carbon Energy Facility/Renewable Energy Village
35 INEOS Low-Carbon Hydrogen Plant
36 Inverurie Energy Hub
37 Arbikie Distillery
38 Aberdeen City Hydrogen Energy Storage (ACHES)
39 Acorn CCS
40 Acorn Hydrogen
41 Chapelcross Initiative
42 Dolphyn Project
43 Edinburgh International Festival decarbonisation project
44 Green Hydrogen for Glasgow
45 Hammars Hill Green Ammonia project
46 Kittybrewster Refuelling Station
47 Surf ‘n’ Turf
48 Gordonbush Hydrogen Demonstrator Project
49 Hydrogen Turbine 1 (HT1)
50 ERM Dolphyn – Commercial scale demonstration
51 Project Haldane
52 Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – Net Zero Hub
53 Northern Horizons
54 Eday Flow Cell Battery Project
56 HyStorPor Project
57 HyProducer: Cascade Tank System for Hydrogen Storage & Delivery from LOHC
58 Bulk scale storage and transportation of hydrogen using LOHC
59 SHyLO: Solid Hydrogen at Low pressures
60 H100 Fife project
61 Local Transmission System – Grangemouth to Granton
2.4 Regional hydrogen energy hubs
A Regional Hydrogen Energy Hub is a geographic location (region, city, island, industrial cluster) that is host to the entire hydrogen value chain, from production, storage and distribution to end-use. Regional Hydrogen Hubs will include multiple end-users with applications ideally covering more than one sector.
The establishment of sector-coupling hydrogen production hubs capable of simultaneously servicing transport, heat and industry needs will provide an effective energy integration opportunity for hydrogen and a critical step in increasing the scale of the hydrogen economy in Scotland. Hubs will create economies of scale by aggregating local demand across multiple sectors, driving cost efficiencies and facilitating knowledge sharing.
Areas across the North and South of Scotland and the Islands, are rapidly developing as potential future centres of hydrogen production and demand as well as our industrial centres such as the Grangemouth industrial cluster. Led by industry and the private sector, several regional hydrogen clusters or hubs are forming. Some are already producing renewable hydrogen and supporting demand for hydrogen fuels, e.g. Aberdeen, while others are advancing to renewable hydrogen production, such as the Green Hydrogen for Glasgow project, which uses hydrogen production from the renewable energy generated by the Whitelee Wind Farm operated by Scottish Power. Early investment in infrastructure for production and distribution will be important for the development of regional hubs.
There are several characteristics that might determine the suitability of a location for a hydrogen energy hub, including their proximity to energy supply and feedstock for production, high local demand and connectivity to onshore and offshore transportation infrastructure and networks, as well as in many cases proximity to port facilities to enable access to export markets. Our islands benefit from many of the characteristics that would enable them to develop as hubs of hydrogen production, meeting local demand and providing potential solution to grid curtailment issues. We also know that low-cost production of hydrogen is a key consideration underpinning transition planning – the transportation and storage of hydrogen adds to the overall cost per unit and therefore it makes sense to co-locate production with multiple off-takers.
Actions we will take:
- Encourage relationships – Aggregation of cross-sectoral demand and co-location of the whole hydrogen value chain minimises the cost of essential supporting infrastructure and makes the hub model an efficient pathway to producing hydrogen at scale and increasing demand.
- Hydrogen hub location awareness – A study will be published early in 2023 to describe, quantify and map, in detail, the potential hydrogen demand in Scotland across multiple sub-sectors in industry and transport. The aim is to help hydrogen suppliers to identify off-takers more easily, in proximity to the production site where possible.
- Supportive policy – The Scottish Government’s supportive policies and investment, alongside that of private investment and UK market frameworks and funding, are required to enable regional hydrogen hubs across Scotland to reach a final investment decision.
Progress to date:
- Cromarty Distilleries Project – Scottish Power and Storegga are developing the Cromarty Distilleries Project as part of the North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme. The Phase 1 project aims to have a 35 MW electrolyser facility operational by the end of 2024, producing up to 14 tonnes of renewable hydrogen per day to meet local distillery demands and prove the technology at this scale. The project will initially supply renewable hydrogen to local distilleries operated by Diageo, Glenmorangie and Whyte & Mackay, and the supply chain supporting those distilleries, before expanding into a broader Cromarty regional solution for heat and transport needs whilst also enabling hydrogen export via the Port of Cromarty Firth.
- Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub – The Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub, is being supported via the UK and Scottish Government Islands Growth Deal and the Scottish Government’s Green Growth Accelerator. The Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland Islands have excellent wind conditions and have the potential to develop significant onshore and offshore wind generation through both community-owned and commercial renewable energy generators.
- Island Pilot projects – We will work with at least three islands over this Parliament to enable them to become fully carbon-neutral by 2040, as forerunners to a net zero Scotland by 2045. Supporting projects to help create circular economies and explore more sustainable transport options.
- Production Site studies – Enterprise Agencies published a Hydrogen Production and Export Locations Site Requirements Study  that assessed the required inputs including water supply and land area required for production, related infrastructure, considerations for hydrogen export, and planning and consenting. The study assessed production for both renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, determining detailed site requirements for hydrogen production sites at 200 MW, 500 MW and 1 GW scale. A follow on report on smaller scale production site requirements (<100MW) and overlap with locations with constrained or curtailed wind capacity is underway and will help inform and enable quicker development of hydrogen production sites.
Case Study: Flotta Hydrogen Hub – This multi-billion-pound project would utilise a repurposed area of the existing Flotta Terminal to create a renewable hydrogen hub powered by offshore wind projects in the seas around Orkney. The plan is to progressively transform the site, allowing conventional oil and gas operations to continue whilst the renewable hydrogen facilities are developed. The project’s location at Scapa Flow makes it a potential site for domestic supply, international export and maritime refuelling. The project is being led by Repsol Sinopec, the Flotta Terminal owner, TotalEnergies, Macquarrie’s Green Investment Group and Uniper. The renewable hydrogen production facility at Flotta Terminal could be powered with renewable energy from the West of Orkney Windfarm that is under development by Offshore Wind Power Limited (OWPL) after its successful bid for the Scotwind N1 zone.
2.5 Map of potential regional hydrogen hub locations
Aberdeen is developing as one of Europe’s most advanced hydrogen cities with hydrogen initiatives including: the deployment of over 90 hydrogen vehicles; a renewed fleet of 25 double-decker hydrogen buses; a range of light duty fuel cell vehicles for council fleets and a local car sharing club; trials of hydrogen-fuelled refuse trucks and road sweepers; the commissioning of a megawatt-scale stationary fuel cell as part of Aberdeen’s recent new conference centre development; adaptation of facilities for hydrogen fleet maintenance and upskilling of fleet technicians; and two public hydrogen refuelling stations operating since 2015. The Scottish Government has invested over £15m from our Energy Transition Fund to take forward the development of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub. The development of the new South Harbour, the UK’s largest marine infrastructure project, is currently underway and the adjacent Energy Transition Zone (ETZ) is set to become a catalyst for high-value manufacturing, R&D and hydrogen development. It is also in proximity to Acorn CCUS and Acorn Hydrogen project further up the coast at St Fergus.
2. Argyll & Islands
Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC) Hydrogen Futures aims to establish a renewable hydrogen production and distribution site at Machrihanish Airbase on the Kintyre Peninsula. A former military aerodrome, Machrihanish has been transformed into a community-owned business park offering over 1,000 acres (400+ hectares) of unique properties, development land and assets, as well as its own airport.
Ayrshire is emerging as a hub of hydrogen activity. Hunterston, a former nuclear power station, could be an ideal landing point for nearby offshore wind farms, with industrial scale options for hydrogen production and export, strong grid connections and existing marine infrastructure. Prestwick Aerospace, home to Scotland’s aerospace sector, offers emerging opportunities to service the aviation sector and which could emerge as one of hydrogen’s key end-users.
The North of Scotland Hydrogen Programme aims to develop a state-of-the-art hub to produce, store and distribute renewable hydrogen to the local area, the UK and Europe. Ideally located close to large-scale renewable resources, there is a driving ambition for the region to become a hydrogen economy, with huge local demand for renewable hydrogen from distilleries, industry, transport and domestic applications.
5. Dumfries & Galloway
Centrally located in the UK, Dumfries & Galloway offers easy access to existing gas transmission pipelines (including the Scotland to Northern Ireland Pipeline) and future ‘Project Union’ (National Grid) and ‘European Backbone’ transmission infrastructure. The area already has an emerging hydrogen supply chain cluster, including hydrogen-enabled industrial boilers, and key development sites include Chapelcross, which offers up to 500 acres of development potential.
Ideally located next to several offshore wind farms, Dundee has ambitions to deploy hydrogen production, refuelling infrastructure and hydrogen vehicle fleets. Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) is a key site, focused on driving innovation and R&D in sustainable mobility and low-carbon energy and offering a wide range of industrial spaces, cutting-edge research facilities and a Skills Centre of Excellence.
Fife’s world-first H100 hydrogen network will install hydrogen into around 300 homes to provide customers with renewable hydrogen for their heating needs – produced using electricity from an offshore wind turbine. The project is built on the legacy of Fife’s pioneering Hydrogen Office that launched in 2011 with a 750 kW wind turbine and 30 kW electrolyser and subsequently added a solar PV, smart microgrid, fleet of 17 hydrogen vehicles, 250 kW of electrolysis and 100 kW fuel cell.
The Sustainable Glasgow initiative aims to make Scotland’s largest city net zero by 2030, with projects including deploying hydrogen refuse collection vehicles and new refuelling infrastructure. The nearby Whitelee wind farm, one of Europe’s largest onshore wind farms, plans to have the UK’s largest electrolyser at 20 MW, while the Hy2Go project proposes a renewable hydrogen production park off the M74 motorway.
Scotland’s largest industrial area, Grangemouth offers numerous opportunities to decarbonise. A new energy plant is due to be commissioned in late 2023, designed to fuel switch to hydrogen in the future, and a large-scale hydrogen production plant could export captured carbon offshore for permanent storage via the Acorn project, while SGN could repurpose existing pipeline to transport hydrogen from Grangemouth to Edinburgh. In September 2022, INEOS announced plans to deliver a world-scale low-carbon hydrogen plant expected to be operational by 2030 that aims to reduce emissions at the plant by one million tonnes per year.
The Flotta Hydrogen Hub is a proposed industrial-scale renewable hydrogen production facility on an existing oil terminal in Orkney. Utilising renewable energy generated via a ScotWind offshore wind development, this project could export significant quantities of hydrogen to Europe and the UK gas grid at St Fergus, forming the foundation for an international maritime renewable hydrogen refuelling hub. The existing hydrogen cluster in Orkney on the islands of Eday and Shapinsay continues to grow and develop as a critical part of the European Marine Energy Centre.
11. Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders boasts large onshore windfarms and easy access to the East Coast’s offshore windfarms, via Eyemouth harbour, and the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative. Main gas transmission pipelines to England cross the area, as will new ‘Project Union’ infrastructure, local engineering firms offer strong electrolyser supply chain potential and therefore the area is an ideally situated location for regional hydrogen hub development.
The ORION Clean Energy Project will shape Shetland as a world-leading clean energy hub. Renewable hydrogen from the abundant wind, wave and tidal resources, aims to power homes, businesses and vehicles, electrify oil and gas installations, and serve export markets using existing infrastructure, including Shetland Gas Plant and Sullom Voe, and the deep-water port and oil terminal.
13. Western Isles
The Outer Hebrides Energy Hub aims to maximise the area’s abundant onshore and offshore wind resources, producing enough renewable hydrogen to power the islands, as well as for export to the UK domestic and international markets.
2.6 Hydrogen uses
In some sectors of our economy, hydrogen is more likely to provide a path to decarbonisation, while in others hydrogen is less likely to make an impact due to the availability of more effective solutions such as electrification.
We expect direct electrification to do the heavy lifting in decarbonising the energy system, but we also recognise the contribution hydrogen can make as part of an integrated energy system. Direct electrification should be maximised where appropriate, but there remain some important parts of our energy system where decarbonisation through hydrogen, either via the use of gaseous hydrogen or hydrogen derivatives, may be the more effective solution.
While the nature of hydrogen as an energy vector means that it can theoretically be used across many sectors of the economy, some sectors are more likely than others to adopt hydrogen as an optimal solution.
The likeliness of hydrogen being adopted will depend on technical parameters such as efficiency. Other regional factors such as resource availability and availability of infrastructure will be of importance on a case-by-case basis. For example, this could be the case for distilleries in Scotland. While the decarbonisation of distilleries would theoretically favour electrification routes, the remote nature of many distilleries across Scotland might favour hydrogen implementation that could benefit from on-site power sources that are otherwise hindered by grid limitations.
There are sectors that already have extensive experience in the use of hydrogen for their applications and these are the most likely to adopt the use of renewable or low-carbon hydrogen. In Scotland, this includes the use of hydrogen in industry for refining or the production of fertilisers where unabated hydrogen as an industrial feedstock is already in use.
In other instances, the lack of a cost-effective direct electrification solution is likely to favour the transition to hydrogen. This could be the case for the metallurgic industry where high temperature flame applications are currently less likely to achieve decarbonisation through electrification. Different uses of hydrogen could also become more viable through the development of hydrogen hubs where heavy industry – i.e. refineries, chemicals, fertiliser and steel manufacturing – develop alongside other uses such as shipping, freight transport, pipeline export (domestically and internationally) and power infrastructure.
Subject to price and availability, hydrogen in the transport sector could act as a complementary energy source alongside electrification, providing an option to parts of the transport sector such as heavy duty vehicles and parts of the rail network, when full electrification is challenging. As outlined in the Zero Emission Energy for Transport Report, hydrogen is unlikely to play a significant role in the decarbonisation of some forms of road transport, such as cars or light goods vehicles, due to the suitability and availability of battery electric vehicles for these applications. However, hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels or electro-fuels (e-fuels) could play a more significant role in the decarbonisation of the maritime and aviation industries as well as in some high-temperature flame industrial applications. In these sectors, hydrogen converted into synthetic liquid e-fuels, such as e-methanol, e-methane, liquid e-hydrocarbons, e-formic acid or e-ammonia, could offer certain advantages over liquid or gaseous hydrogen. Hydrogen has low volumetric energy density that adds costs and challenges when transporting and storing it. Converting hydrogen into e-fuels with higher energy density could reduce some of these challenges as e-fuels can often use existing infrastructure, although this benefit needs
to be considered against the additional conversion losses and costs to produce these fuels. In these instances, e-fuels might pose a more suitable alternative than the combustion of hydrogen or its use in fuel cells.
We do not consider that hydrogen will play a central role in the overall decarbonisation of domestic heat and therefore cannot afford to delay action to decarbonise homes this decade through other available technologies. The potential for hydrogen to play a role in heating buildings depends upon strategic decisions by the UK Government that will be made over the coming years and the Scottish Government will continue to urge the UK Government to accelerate decision-making on the role of hydrogen in the gas grid.
The gas industry is testing options for blending hydrogen into the gas network up to the limit that can be safely used in existing appliances. Using a blend of hydrogen up to 20% by volume has the potential to generate carbon savings from gas use by up to only 6-7% on current GB grid gas consumption. There is also potential for some parts of the gas grid in Scotland to be converted to 100% hydrogen in the 2030s and beyond.
Hydrogen might have a role to play in the decarbonisation of Statutory Independent Undertakings (SIUs), which are gas networks in Scotland not connected to the national gas network. This is the focus of a partnership between SGN and RWE that will investigate the decarbonisation of homes and businesses connected to the local gas networks of Campbeltown, Stornoway, Oban, Thurso and Wick.
Availability of hydrogen may also offer a role for many Scottish NHS sites to enable a switch-over of heat source without disrupting the delivery of health services.
Additionally, an electricity system built around renewable energy supply will require the integration of hydrogen to provide flexible capacity for reliable backup and strategic energy storage for resiliency. Paradoxically, the more we strive for electrification, the more we depend on intermittent renewable generation and the more energy storage is required to balance the system.
Government can assist the growth of the sector with the development of supportive policies, investment and the introduction of market intervention such as business models. Many of the uses of hydrogen across the Scottish economy will be based on the suitability of hydrogen for each application as well as regional, logistical and market factors. It is also worth noting the nascent nature of the hydrogen sector with technology readiness levels still in development.
A hierarchy of uses is presented below that is based on our current understanding of the sector and provides our view of some of the hydrogen uses that are more or less likely to develop, based on current alternatives and available opportunities. This has been produced by considering a range of influencing factors such as economic, technical and logistical issues and will be taken into account as part of our considerations as we design support for the transition to a net zero economy.
Fewer alternatives and significant market opportunity
- Fertilisers (ammonia), Chemical Feedstock, Refineries, Energy exports via pipeline and ship, Methanol
- Distilleries, Steel production, High-temperature industrial heat
- Long-term energy storage, Off-grid portable power generators, Maritime (other than small vessels), Aircraft
- Heating in SIUs, Heavy road vehicles
- Rural and island grids, Uninterruptable power supplies, District heating, Commercial heating,
- Low-temperature industrial heat, Maritime-small vessels, Rail, Domestic heating
- Power system balancing, Short-term energy storage, Light road vehicles (cars, vans etc)
Many alternatives and less certain market opportunity
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