Skip to the content

Successful Study Tour to Orkney

The bachelor students from Western Norway University of Applied Science was inspired by the renewable energy projects taking place on Orkney. Here at the hydrogen refuelling station in Kirkwall.
The bachelor students from Western Norway University of Applied Science were inspired by the renewable energy projects taking place on Orkney. Here at the hydrogen refuelling station in Kirkwall.

50 persons joined us on our study tour to Orkney to meet world leading renewable energy and hydrogen players. Businesses in Orkney are storing wind and tidal energy as hydrogen for use in automotive transportation in Kirkwall and for heating of buildings.

Heriot-Watt University runs the ICIT campus in Stromness, offering students from all over the world three different master programs relating to renewable energy and marine resource management.

23 Norwegian renewable energy bachelor students from Western Norway University of Applied Science were part of the Norwegian delegation. They were impressed by the master programmes and some of the students felt that ICIT could be an interesting opportunity after fulfilling their bachelor degree in Norway. – We had the pleasure of hosting a master student from Western Norway two years ago and would be glad to welcoming more, noted ICIT Director Dr Sandy Kerr.

EMEC Test Center

Established in 2003, The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Ltd is the first and only centre of its kind in the world to provide developers of both wave and tidal energy converters with purpose-built, accredited open-sea testing facilities.

During the last 15 years more than 30 different wave and tidal power devices have been tested at the facilities. Jon Clipsham has worked at EMEC for 2 years, developing the company’s interests in Green Hydrogen production from renewables. During this time he has witnessed an increased international focus on marine energy and hydrogen, in particular the use of hydrogen as a fuel for marine vessels. - There will be a huge demand for professionals working in the hydrogen sector in the future. We need capable, skilled, and committed people to manage the shift away from fossil fuels and reduce global emissions, said Clipsham when speaking about the future for the hydrogen transition.

Community Engagement at Eday

Eday Renewable Energy Ltd (ERE) represents the local organisation on Eday working with large scale community-owned renewable energy. Every kWh produced energy gives income to the business and the local community, whether it is exported to the grid, or, when the grid is curtailed, is used to produce stored energy in the form of hydrogen.

Andrew Stennett and Clive Brookes told the audience an interesting story about how ERE have managed to merge day-by-day running of the company, with curtailment reclamation, through innovation and business development to optimise income to pass onto the parent charity for use of social outcomes. It was stressed that community acceptance should not be underestimated when new technology is to be introduced to the market.

Surf 'n' Turf and BIG HIT Projects

The two projects connect many energy and community players in Orkney, implementing a fully integrated model of hydrogen production, storage, transportation and utilisation for heat, power and mobility. The projects are partially funded by EU and Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund.

Tidal power devices are located at the European Marine Energy Centre test site at the Fall of Warness, in the sea just west of the island of Eday, and by the Eday Renewable Energy community-owned onshore wind turbine. They will route their surplus electricity to a 500kW electrolyser, which generates hydrogen by splitting water. The hydrogen is stored as compressed gas, then transported on a trailer by road and sea to Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney. There, it powers a fuel cell to generate clean electricity and heat.

Part of the energy has been delivered from Orbital Marine’s 2 MW tidal power device SR2000 which delivered more than 3 GWh over its initial 12 months test programme. Shapinsay island is also part of the project. On the island, there will soon be produced hydrogen from a 900 kW wind turbine. The hydrogen will be used for heating the local school as well as powering vans for transportation.

Contact Information

Thea Båtevik

Innovation Consultant

Thea Båtevik

About the study tour

The study tour to Orkney Islands was organised by Hub for Ocean and GCE Ocean Technology.

Both private industry, public administration and education participated in gaining an insight into the work that Orkney Island does on renewable energy and hydrogen solutions.