Hydrogen infrastructure on EMEC's Caldale site

Hydrogen projects

EMEC Hydrogen landscape Hi-Res (RGB) 640

Since installing a 0.5MW electrolyser on our Caldale site on Eday in 2016, EMEC has been actively involved in projects which test and demonstrate new hydrogen technologies. Through continued commitment from local stakeholders to incorporate hydrogen into the local energy system, Orkney has become a leading example of a developing hydrogen economy.

An overview of the hydrogen projects we are involved in is provided below:


HyFlyer logo

The HyFlyer project, granted £5.3 million of UK government funding, aims to decarbonise medium range small passenger aircraft by demonstrating powertrain technology to replace conventional piston engines in propeller aircraft. The conventional powertrain in the aircraft will be replaced with electric motors, hydrogen fuel cells and gas storage.

HyFlyer will demonstrate a phased approach from battery power to hydrogen power, integrating the new technology aboard a Piper M-class six-seater aircraft which will perform test flights out of Cranfield and Orkney.

The project is led by Zeroavia, developers of hydrogen fuel cell powertrain solutions. Project partners Intelligent Energy will optimise its high power fuel cell technology for application in aviation whilst EMEC Hydrogen, producers of green hydrogen from renewable energy, will supply the hydrogen required for flight tests and develop a mobile refuelling platform compatible with the plane.

For more info, read the HyFlyer project announcement press release.


The HySpirits project has been awarded £148,600 of funding from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to conduct a feasibility study into the development of technology to enable The Orkney Distillery to use hydrogen as a fuel to decarbonise the distilling process.

The project aims to investigate the development of a thermal fluid heater system to operate with hydrogen as the combustion fuel within the distilling process. This system will remove the need to use fossil fuels such as kerosene and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), for the process.

The HySpirits study brings together three different organisations with a common drive to decarbonise energy. Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the other partners are Orkney Distilling Ltd, the site selected for hydrogen fuel integration, and Edinburgh Napier University who will assess the distillery site and develop the hydrogen system design and specification.

HYDIMEHyDIME Logo (Turq Background)

Innovate UK have awarded £430,332 of funding to the Hydrogen & Diesel Injection in a Marine Environment (HyDIME) project.

HyDIME is focussed on the use of hydrogen as a fuel in marine transport and will see the design and integration of a hydrogen/diesel dual fuel conversion system on a commercial ferry operating between Kirkwall and Shapinsay.

The project will use the hydrogen produced by EMEC on the ferry which will power the auxiliary systems of the vessel. The project will also gain the necessary marine licences and regulatory approvals for hydrogen to be used as a fuel in a marine environment which will have a significant impact on future hydrogen marine projects across the rest of the UK.

ITEGITEG Project Logo - RGB - Resized

The Integrating Tidal Energy into the European Grid (ITEG) project, awarded €11 million of funding by the Interreg North-West Europe programme, addresses the issue of grid constraints in remote areas through the use of an ‘all-in-one’ hydrogen production solution, integrating tidal energy with hydrogen production. Using excess power generated by Orbital’s 2MW tidal turbine the Orbital O2 2MW (due to be deployed in 2020), the project will see an additional 0.5MW electrolyser built by AREVAH2GEN and a smart onshore energy management system (EMS) installed on Eday which will enable EMEC to determine whether the tidal power generated at the EMEC’s Fall of Warness test site is fed into the grid or into the electrolyser to produce hydrogen.

For more, visit the ITEG project website.


An Innovate UK funded project, Powering Isolated Territories with Hydrogen Energy (PITCHES) will demonstrate the feasibility of using hydrogen to meet the energy needs of remote communities, such as Malawi. This project builds on the experience gained in the BIGHIT project.

PITCHES will deploy and demonstrate an integrated hydrogen solution, including renewably-powered production, delivery and use of hydrogen, in the Orkney Islands. Through the demonstration, the project will explore the replicability of such systems to isolated, off-grid communities, including in Sub Saharan Africa, by testing configurations of the system, and identifying business models which best suit off-grid communities in developing countries.


Funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU) under the EU Horizon 2020 programme, BIGHIT (Building Innovative Green Hydrogen Systems in an Isolated Territory: a pilot for Europe) builds on the Surf ‘n’ Turf project by incorporating energy from Shapinsay’s community wind turbine to produce hydrogen which is then shipped to Kirkwall in specially designed storage trailers.

BIGHIT has enabled the construction of a hydrogen refuelling station in Kirkwall which powers a fleet of five electric council vans (each fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell range extender). Additionally, two hydrogen-powered boilers will be installed at suitable premises to provide zero carbon heat.

For more, visit the BIGHIT website.

Surf ‘n’ Turf

SnT logoSurf ‘n’ Turf was the first community project in Orkney to harness wind and tidal power for hydrogen production. The project received £1.3 million of Scottish Government funding through the Local Energy Challenge Fund and in August 2017 the world’s first tidal-powered hydrogen was generated on EMEC’s tidal test site as part of the project.

The hydrogen produced by EMEC’s electrolyser on Eday is stored; transferred to specially designed hydrogen storage trailers; and then shipped to Kirkwall, where a 75 kW fuel cell (housed at Kirkwall Pier) converts hydrogen back to electricity, which is used as auxiliary power for the ferries when docked in the harbour (a process known as ‘cold ironing’).

Through Surf ‘n’ Turf, accredited hydrogen training courses are offered in conjunction with the local college, increasing local job opportunities.

For more information visit the Surf ‘n’ Turf project website.







Aquamarine Power


Atlantis Resources Corporation



Naval Group

Naval Group


Open Hydro


Orbital Marine




ScottishPower Renewables



Sustainable Marine Energy

Sustainable Marine Energy


Voith Hydro


Wello Oy

Supported by: