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Scottish Port Seeks to Become Hub for Hydrogen in UK

hydrogen hub in Scotland to import Norwegian hydrogen
Port of Cromarty Fifth, Scotland

Published May 24, 2021 5:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

Plans are advancing for the development of a hydrogen hub and transshipment port in northern Scotland. The terms of a memorandum of understanding between the Port of Cromarty Firth, located near Inverness, Scotland and Norwegian firm Gen2 Energy establish the groundwork to call for a commercial pathway to import green hydrogen from Norway into the UK energy market. The development of the hub is also seen as part of an effort to develop Scotland as a leader in renewable energy.

“This is a historic moment for the Port, and for the move towards green hydrogen as a reliable and secure source of energy in the Highlands, Scotland, and the UK,” said Port of Cromarty Firth chief executive Bob Buskie. “Through this Memorandum of Understanding, we have the potential to not only distribute green hydrogen but develop our own substantial production infrastructure, allowing Scotland to retain its position as a global frontrunner in clean energy. It will also have a positive effect on Scotland’s energy transition plans and provide skilled jobs and business opportunities for decades to come.”

The Scottish Government previously announced its ambition to become a leading hydrogen nation that generates 5GW of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen by 2030. They believe that they can generate enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 1.8 million homes from hydrogen fueled power.

In March 2021, the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA) announced that work was beginning of a feasibility study for a proposed project to build a large scale electrolyzer facility in the area of the port. The plan calls for linking proposals for up to 15 offshore wind farms to become a feeder for the hydrogen plant which would also have storage and distribution capabilities. The region’s distilleries could become the first users for the hydrogen with the plan also exploring uses for shipping, road transport, aviation and rail.

The new agreement is designed to tap into Norway’s ability to produce large amounts of renewable energy that will exceed local needs. By building the distribution channel with Norway, it will provide users in Scotland additional assurances of a secure supply of hydrogen. They believe that this will provide an additional incentive for regional business to pursue decarbonization through a switch to hydrogen as a fuel.

The port will become the UK transshipment hub for Gen2 Energy’s hydrogen, produced from Norway’s surplus renewable energy, which will be shipped across the North Sea. Hydrogen would then be distributed to customers across the UK by road, rail and sea.