ABERDEEN City Council today announced ambitious plans to develop Europe’s oil capital as a centre of excellence in the creation of new hydrogen technologies.
As part of the drive Councillor Barney Crockett, the leader of the city council, launched the authority’s new hydrogen strategy framework aimed at helping diversify the city’s existing energy expertise.
Councillor Crockett, speaking on the opening day of the All Energy exhibition and conference in the city, said: “Aberdeen City Council is determined to define the image of an international 21st Century energy city and to lead a leaner, cleaner industrial revolution. Hydrogen technology and transport will play a large part in that vision and the council and its partners have a strong role to play in realising that vision.”
He continued: “Aberdeen is world-famous for its expertise in offshore oil and gas production. Those skills are finding root in offshore renewables. We’re now adding the third component – a hydrogen economy. It’s a message we will be sending out far and wide, and all will be welcome to come to play a part.
“The launch of this strategy framework is an extremely important step. This is Aberdeen laying out its aspirations and intentions for creating a hydrogen economy in Aberdeen. It is a crucial step towards Aberdeen becoming a world-leading, smart energy city. I firmly believe this document, combined with our exciting ongoing hydrogen demonstration projects will stimulate further innovative hydrogen technology initiatives and attract even more high-level investment to this city.”
The initiative was praised by Ed Davey, the UK Energy Secretary. He said: “It’s great to see Aberdeen is giving hydrogen the green light. A hydrogen strategy for the city will accelerate growth in the hydrogen energy and fuel cell market.
“Hydrogen is an increasingly important source of clean energy, offering a low carbon solution for our future energy mix. I wish Aberdeen City Council every success with their projects.”
Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, said the plans would further enhance Aberdeen’s reputation for energy innovation.
A city council spokeswoman explained: “Hydrogen offers a diversification opportunity for the North-east and Scotland’s businesses, where our energy skills, know-how and expertise can also be applied to a hydrogen economy and development of a local supply chain.
“The strategy framework presents a platform for the city to step from the £20-million Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project, which will bring Europe’s largest fleet of fuel cell buses to the region next year, to other ambitious hydrogen projects. This will accelerate the development of the renewable energy sector, while offering real opportunities for economic development, reducing emissions, and leading a low carbon economy.
“Hydrogen offers a diversification opportunity for the North-east and Scotland’s businesses, where our energy skills, know-how and expertise can also be applied to a hydrogen economy and development of a local supply chain. The council and its partners are determined to create high-profile cutting-edge demonstration projects using hydrogen technology to realise the aspiration of the Granite City securing its place as a European centre of excellence.”
Meanwhile Aberdeen, Robert Gordon and Dundee universities have announced they are to join forces to create a new Offshore Renewables Institute, based in Dundee.
A spokeswoman for the consortium said: “The Offshore Renewables Institute is a new partnership which brings together experts from different disciplines at the University of Dundee, the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University with the aim of developing and delivering solutions for the offshore wind industry in the North Sea and globally. ORI will provide effective, practical and timely help to the offshore renewables sector, government and wider society through consultancy, research, policy advice and professional development.”
Professor Paul Mitchell, the director of the new institute, said: “The UK and Scottish Governments have set ambitious targets for 2020 for offshore wind deployment. This presents us with an array of challenges – and not only in terms of the improving technology. We need to look at the environmental impact of such large developments, the legal issues, safety of course – and how we can increase efficiency and reduce costs over the lifetime of a project. We need a variety of experts around these problems, all working together to a common goal.
“We also require people with the skill sets to deliver this industry safely and efficiently in the challenging and hostile environment of the North Sea. That’s an area where we have experience second-to-none, through three decades of producing the workforce for the oil and gas sector.”P
Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of Robert Gordon University, said: “This is a fantastic partnership project which combines the very best of what our institutions have to offer in terms of skills and experience.
“We have strong links with the energy industry and with a renewed focus on offshore renewable energy we are well placed to deliver a globally recognised centre of excellence which will highlight and secure Scotland’s role in the next generation of energy production.”