Hydrogen use doesn’t emit carbon. It is already widely used in a range of industrial process, including refining and making fertilisers.
Most hydrogen today is generated by heating coal and natural gas with steam, a process that emits carbon dioxide.
More recently, solutions to realise hydrogen’s potential as a clean energy source have been explored. These include both green hydrogen, produced from renewable energy and also blue hydrogen, which is produced from natural gas with carbon capture and storage technology (CCS).
In the future, there is potential to use hydrogen as an alternative fuel that could power buses, trains, heavy vehicles and shipping, and as one of the ways to heat our homes.
Making green hydrogen
The partners' proposal for Flotta is to create green hydrogen, using offshore wind energy, through a process known as electrolysis - which separates water, in our case clean seawater, into hydrogen and oxygen.
Green hydrogen is carbon-free and can be used to generate heat or electricity wherever it is needed leaving only water vapour as a by-product.
With the right investment and continued research, green hydrogen can become, low-cost and widely-available, and a realistic part of the green energy system.
Potential uses for Flotta green hydrogen
Blending into the GB gas grid
There is tremendous potential for Flotta to contribute significantly to both the UK and Scottish Governments' low carbon hydrogen production targets for 2030.
One option is to pipe Flotta green hydrogen direct to the St Fergus gas terminal on the Aberdeenshire coast, where it could be blended into the GB national gas transmission system.
Full output from Flotta would represent five percent of total gas volumes flowing through St Fergus, potentially allowing 100 percent offtake from Flotta into the gas grid.
Hydrogen export hub
There is the option to utilise the existing oil berthing infrastructure as Flotta transitions to new low carbon future for hydrogen fuel transfers.
This is a prime strategic location with deep water anchorage in Scapa Flow, offering the potential to create a hydrogen export hub.
This would establish the UK as major green energy provider to Europe or other destinations.
International hydrogen refueling port
At present, five percent of the UK’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions are from the maritime sector and in 2019 UK domestic shipping emitted more greenhouse gases in total than rail and bus transport combined.
Flotta is ideally located on the northern Atlantic route to major European ports and offers a potential route to decarbonise shipping through creation of an international low carbon bunkering (marine fueling) facility.
Increased use of a low carbon maritime fuel would help meet the aspirations of the UK Transport Decarbonisation Plan (PDF).