Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

Hydrogen is a very abundant element, which can be produced in an electrolyser using renewable electricity. This converts water into hydrogen and oxygen using the electricity, and the hydrogen gas can then be compressed stored in high pressure cylinders.

Interesting Facts

  • Hydrogen can be used directly in fuel cells, as an alternative fuel in combustion devices such as engines and boilers, or as a chemical feedstock in a number of important industrial processes such as ammonia or methanol manufacture.
  • Fuel Cells uses an electrochemical process to convert chemical fuels into electricity. The fuel is combined with oxygen from the ambient air to produce electricity, with heat and water as the waste products.
  • Unlike batteries, Fuel Cells will continue to generate electricity as long as a source of fuel is supplied.
  • Fuel Cells do not combust fuel but use a catalytic oxidation which makes this electricity generation process quiet, pollution-free and more efficient than using internal combustion engine powered generators.
  • Hydrogen and Fuel Cells are now playing a key role in developing low carbon smart energy systems with several projects underway in Scotland.
Opportunities

Opportunities

  • Hydrogen can enable the integration of more intermittent renewables such as wind into the energy system using electrolysis.
  • Hydrogen allows ‘sector coupling’ to make best use of the low carbon energy into heat, transport, and industry.
  • In transport, hydrogen will have an important part in decarbonising ‘hard to treat’ heavy logistics such as trucks, trains, shipping.
  • In manufacturing and industry, hydrogen will allow decarbonisation of high temperature process heat, such as glass, steel, bricks, cement, etc.
  • For industry, hydrogen can be used as a sustainable feedstock for chemicals and clean fuels production.
Challenges

Challenges

  • The main challenge for fuel cells is costs, which are coming down steadily as production volumes increase.
  • Recent deployment of fuel cell vehicles by companies such as Toyota, Hyundai and Honda are reducing vehicle costs, but the required hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is not yet in place to allow wide use.
  • Scaling up of hydrogen production is bringing down the cost of hydrogen, but demand is still low.
  • Hydrogen storage at scale still needs further development to allow large quantities of hydrogen to be stored at competitive costs. This offers significant opportunities for underground geological storage, which can meet seasonal heating energy demands.

Get in touch

The team at AREG is committed to ensuring that businesses in Aberdeen City and Shire capitalise on opportunities in renewable energy and that our members achieve success in this rapidly growing market. Please contact us with your news, views, concerns and successes so that we are well placed to deliver on your behalf.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. “We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.

All-Energy

Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.

Vattenfall

Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise