A windfarm near Glasgow will soon become home to a state-of-the-art hydrogen storage facility that could eventually produce enough clean energy to help power the next generation of public transport.
Nearly £10m in taxpayers’ cash has been awarded to the project, based at the Whitelee Windfarm, near Eaglesham, East Renfrewshire, by the UK Government to help develop the country’s largest electrolyser, a system which converts water into hydrogen.
Greg Hands, the energy and climate change minister, said: “This first-of-a-kind hydrogen facility will put Scotland at the forefront of plans to make the UK a world-leading hydrogen economy, bringing green jobs to Glasgow, while also helping to decarbonise local transport – all immediately following the historic COP26 talks.”
The £9.4m cash boost will see production at the facility, developed by ITM Power and BOC, in conjunction with ScottishPower’s Hydrogen division, eventually reach between 2.5 and four tonnes of the gas a day.
The hydrogen generated will be used to support local transport providers with zero-carbon fuel, and the facility is expected to make so much that, once stored, it could provide the equivalent of enough zero-carbon fuel for 225 busses travelling to and from Glasgow to Edinburgh each day.
The UK Government said the project would help Glasgow City Council’s ambition to be net zero by 2030.
Splitting water and capturing the released hydrogen requires energy, and the project will use power from the windfarm, the largest onshore farm in the UK, to create the gas.
Barry Carruthers, director of ScottishPower Hydrogen, said: “This blend of renewable electricity generation and green hydrogen production promises to highlight the multiple ways in which society can decarbonise by using these technologies here and now.”
And Alister Jack, secretary of state for Scotland, said the project showed “how serious the UK Government is about supporting projects that will see us achieve net zero by 2050”.
“In the weeks following COP26 in Glasgow, it has never been more important to champion projects like this one, which embrace new hydrogen technology while creating highly-skilled jobs. We can, and will, achieve a greener, cleaner future,” he said.