The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is collaborating with Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) to decarbonise heat and power at Kirkwall Airport through green hydrogen technology.

Funded by the Scottish Government via Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the innovative project will see a novel hydrogen combustion engine, provided by Doosan Babcock, installed and demonstrated at Kirkwall Airport in Orkney in 2021.

Energy Minister, Mr Wheelhouse, said:

Hydrogen is rapidly emerging as a sustainable solution for the decarbonisation of the economy and a key piece of the energy transition picture. This exciting project, the first of its kind in the UK, demonstrates the introduction of hydrogen in novel ways, using innovative equipment from Doosan Babcock’s plant in Renfrewshire to decarbonise the airport at Kirkwall, and has the potential to be replicated by airports across Scotland as we seek to decarbonise the aviation sector in Scotland.

The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the aspirations of our islands communities to become hubs of energy innovation and climate change leaders, with an emphasis on energy transition, renewable energy and hydrogen production and this project will help inform our options on practical measures on how aviation can help achieve those goals.

This project forms part of a package of initiatives being driven by EMEC and HIAL to decarbonise the airport. A range of opportunities were identified in an energy consumption study delivered by EMEC through the ReFLEX Orkney project. The study found that space and water heating demand in the airport terminal represented the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions after aircraft operations.

hydrogen Kirkwall Airport
2G Hydrogen CHP technology selected to be demonstrated at Kirkwall Airport.

Decarbonising airport groundside activities is an important step to enable HIAL to meet the Scottish Government’s target for the Highlands and Islands to be the world’s first net zero aviation region by 2040.

Managing Director at HIAL, Inglis Lyon, said:

HIAL is committed to making the Highlands and Islands a net zero aviation region by 2040. This pioneering project at Kirkwall Airport is an exciting next step towards decarbonising our operations and enabling greener air services.

HIAL aims to be a leader by implementing new, innovative technology to provide sustainable transport and carbon neutral travel options. We look forward to working with EMEC and other partners as we move towards a greener future.

EMEC has contracted Doosan Babcock, based in Renfrew, together with its combined heat and power (CHP) manufacturer 2G, for the provision of the hydrogen combustion technology. 2G’s hydrogen-ready CHP system will be coupled with the airport’s existing heating system to meet the heating and power requirements of the main airport buildings. Due to be deployed for an extended trial period at the airport, the CHP plant will use green hydrogen supplied by EMEC to generate electricity as well as recover and use by-product heat to deliver an efficient and comprehensive energy solution.

Hydrogen Development Manager at EMEC, James Walker, said:

Decarbonising heating requires innovative solutions and is a challenge that must be tackled in delivering net zero energy systems, including in aviation. Orkney is now well established as a ‘living laboratory’ where new technologies, and their roles in delivering a future clean energy system, are demonstrated.

We are very excited to build on our work supporting HIAL to decarbonise Kirkwall Airport and we look forward to collaborating with HIAL and Doosan Babcock as we seek to continue the decarbonisation of Orkney’s energy system piece by piece.

This is the first 2G 100% hydrogen CHP system installed in the UK and the first of the Doosan Babcock – 2G partnership, which combines 2G’s product portfolio with Doosan Babcock’s expertise in technology integration.

This article was originally published by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited.


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