Myken island, located in the North of Norway, has launched a project to look into the feasibility of a hydrogen plant to make the island self-sufficient in electricity.
After experiencing long power outages, the island’s community decided to group together to look at other potential ways of sourcing electricity which led to the hydrogen project.
Trude Tokle, Project Manager for the energy project and co-owner of the island’s gin and whisky distillery, says the team is working to identify a sustainable solution that reduces the vulnerability of the island’s residents and local businesses.
As the project took off and gained interest it also gained the support from SINTEF Researchers who have experience in carrying out analyses on similar planned hydrogen plants.
“Our island is located far out at sea, so as far as possible we should be taking care of things ourselves,” said Tokle.
“This is why we want to become entirely self-sufficient in energy. It is also important to us to be using green, renewable energy if at all possible.”
The project is looking at the idea of a hydrogen plant tailored specifically for small islands with ‘raw materials’ for hydrogen production coming from sun and wind.
“The main reason for this is that it is possible to store energy in the form of hydrogen for longer periods,” said Kyrre Sundseth, SINTEF Hydrogen Researcher.
“This means that supplies will not have to rely on a lot of expensive batteries or external energy sources, even during periods when the sun isn’t shining, or the wind isn’t blowing.”
The project has already attracted several major players alongside SINTEF including Greenstat, Nordlandsnett and TechnipFMC. Green energy funding organisation Enova is supporting the project with a NOK 700,000 (€69,000.) grant.
SINTEF is currently working on a pilot project funded by the EU and is looking at the potential links to installing a hydrogen plant on Myken and making the island self-sufficient in renewable energy.
The pilot project will involve testing a hydrogen system in which electricity is generated from solar and wind sources. The electricity can be used immediately, but during period when all the energy generated is not required, the surplus can be used to split seawater into hydrogen and oxygen.
“The hydrogen can be stored in a tank and used later to generate the electricity needed using fuel cells,” said Sundseth.
According to Sundseth, the installation of the plant in Myken offers an even greater environmental benefit due to the fact that the whisky distillery relies on propane in the distillation process.
“We envisage that hydrogen, rather than propane, be used as the fuel gas for distillation. Surplus heat from the hydrogen system can be used for heating as part of the mashing and distillation processes.”
“In the future, it might also be possible to use the hydrogen for other applications, such as in local, zero emissions, fuel cell-driven vessels.”