Project: BIG HIT (Building Innovative Green Hydrogen Systems in an Isolated Territory)
Timescale: 2018 – 2022
Funder: Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU) under the EU Horizon 2020 programme
BIG HIT built on Orkney’s pilot hydrogen project Surf ‘n’ Turf. The project sought to create Europe’s first hydrogen territories in the Orkney Islands by developing a green hydrogen energy system and sought to demonstrate an integrated approach to hydrogen production, storage, transportation and utilisation for heat, power and transport.
On the island of Shapinsay, a 1 MW electrolyser operated by ITM Power was installed and co-located beside the island’s community wind turbine with a view to produce hydrogen using energy from the turbine when curtailed (unable to generate electricity onto the national grid due to local grid constraints).
The hydrogen produced could then be stored and transported to be used in local end applications. End use applications installed through the project included a hydrogen-powered catalytic boiler at the Shapinsay Community School to meet some of the heat demand, and an ITM hydrogen refuelling station in Kirkwall which powers a fleet of five electric council vans (each fitted with hydrogen fuel cell range extenders).
As a legacy of these trailblazing projects, Orkney is one of the first locations to deploy assets across the full hydrogen value chain and is widely recognized as one of the first ‘hydrogen territories’ in Europe. By exploring integrated approaches to hydrogen production, storage, transportation and end use, significant learning was gained on the deployment, maintenance and operation of assets, with many operational challenges faced throughout the project. Learning such as electrolyser stack design, system integration and material selection has fed into EMEC’s site developments on Eday and supported wider industry and technology development. Additionally, a deeper understanding of hydrogen logistics has been developed which has enabled EMEC to develop standard operating procedures for transporting hydrogen via road and ferry.
EMEC’s Operations Technician Jerry Gibson Our Operations Technician provides some insight into this learning in the Hydrogen Territories Platform webinar:
Twelve partners from Denmark, France, Italy, Malta, Spain and the UK are participating in this collaborative project.
- Community Energy Scotland
- Orkney Islands Council
- ITM Power
- Shapinsay Development Trust
- Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association
- Symbio FCell
- Foundation for the new development of Hydrogen Technologies in Aragon
- Technical University of Denmark
- Ministry for Transport & Infrastructure of Malta
- May 2018: BIGHIT Creates Exemplar ‘Hydorgen Islands’ Energy System for Orkney
- May 2018: BIGHIT High Five for Green Hydrogen in the Orkney Islands