THE Scottish Government has unveiled a £100m plan it claims will make the country a leading provider of hydrogen fuel.
Ministers say the five-year plan, working with industry, will provide a sixth of Scotland’s energy needs by 2030.
And they claim their Hydrogen Action Plan will do so in a way that is reliable, competitive and sustainable.
Hydrogen fuel cells use the gas to produce electricity and heat, with water the only by-product.
Wind turbines can be used to power a “green” process by which water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen.
But the technology is in its infancy and expensive, while storing and transporting hydrogen is difficult and potentially dangerous. Some experts doubt that cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells will ever be able to compete with today’s generation of battery-powered vehicles.
Despite these drawbacks, the Scottish Government is convinced hydrogen power will have its place in providing our energy needs.
Their five-year capital investment programme will focus on supporting regional renewable hydrogen production hubs and renewable hydrogen projects.
The first tranche of investment will be a £10million Hydrogen Innovation Fund, launched next year, to drive technological progress and cost reduction.
Separately, the Scottish Government’s Energy Transition Fund is being expanded to up to £75m to deliver £15m of investment in an Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub.
This will develop on-the-ground infrastructure to support the growth of a hydrogen transport fleet and the deployment of new applications across the north east.
Additional investment will be made to support the continuing advancement of the technology, including £100,000 to support collaborative industry-academia projects.
Another £150,000 will be made available for German-Scottish hydrogen research collaboration.
And there will be public and private sector joint funding for a study to explore options for the export of hydrogen from Scotland to Germany.
Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Hydrogen has an important role to play in our journey to a net zero economy.”
He said hydrogen would support “the bold, urgent action required to deliver cleaner, greener energy and green jobs”.
He added: “Scotland has the resources, the people and the ambition to become a world leader in hydrogen production.
“Both renewable and low-carbon hydrogen will play an increasingly important role in Scotland’s energy transition.
“Our priorities are to get as much renewable hydrogen into the energy system as quickly as possible.”
Consultation on the draft Hydrogen Action Plan will run until January 19 next year.
Information about the German-Scottish hydrogen research collaboration fund can be found on the Royal Society of Edinburgh website.