For Bill Ireland, CEO of Logan Energy and H2Tec, hydrogen is much more a part of the conversation now than it was even a year ago.
Viable solutions are being examined to use hydrogen to fuel ferries, trains, buses, heavy-goods vehicles and to provide heat in domestic and commercial properties, as well as large scale industrial use.
But Ireland says the infrastructure just isn’t there at the moment in the UK and the country is lagging behind other European countries, such as The Netherlands, France and Germany.
“It’s important that we keep up the recent momentum,” he tells H2 View. “We need to shift words into action and large-scale deployment – not repeating demonstration projects that have been undertaken elsewhere.”
Edinburgh-based Logan Energy has been integrating, installing and maintaining fuel cells for more than a decade in the UK.
The clean energy solutions provider has now expanded its operations to meet the requirements of decarbonised transport, heat and power networks.
Logan Energy has been providing integrated systems for green hydrogen generation, compression, storage and refuelling, alongside its ongoing work in fuel cells.
But without a strong policy commitment providing both “carrot and stick” incentivisation to move to a zero carbon, sustainable economy, Ireland notes there will be slow migration to a hydrogen economy.
“Innovation usually comes from small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), so providing support for SMEs in the sector and taking cognisance of their expertise is essential to growth,” Ireland explains.
“Manufacturing and installing hydrogen technology at scale is one of the main ways that costs can come down – the sooner the economic landscape allows for this scale of deployment, the sooner the shift to a zero-carbon economy.”
Logan Energy was selected as the hydrogen technology partner for the €3.6m EU-funded SEAFUEL project, which will convert seawater into sustainable hydrogen for island regions.
The Scottish company will design and manufacture a hydrogen refuelling station for the Tenerife-based project, which will produce hydrogen, compress and store it, and dispense it to vehicles.
“The station will use renewable resources – solar and wind generated electricity – to convert seawater into hydrogen, which will then be used as fuel for local transport in Tenerife,” Ireland explains.
“The SEAFUEL project aims to pave the way for common renewable energy policies to promote clean and sustainable transport systems, as well as providing a solution for remote Atlantic islands like Tenerife.”
“Such islands face the specific challenges of expensive fuel imports and dependency on mainland transport infrastructure. This model is not just applicable to islands but can be used for larger energy systems within mainland infrastructure.”
Another project Ireland is excited about is the world’s first hydrogen-powered roll-on-roll-off ferry that is being developed in Scotland by a consortium that includes Ferguson Marine.
“It’s being coordinated by St Andrew’s University with the intention to deploy the ferry on a route between two islands in Orkney,” Ireland says.
“Logan Energy helped develop the first stages of the ferry and is currently working with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) on a project commissioned by the Scottish Government, assessing the infrastructure that is required in order to refuel the ferry (and subsequent ferries) with green hydrogen.”