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ScottishPower’s green hydrogen project looks to build UK’s largest electrolyser

The Whitelee windfarm will help power the electrolyser alongside solar and storage. Image: ScottishPower.

The Whitelee windfarm will help power the electrolyser alongside solar and storage. Image: ScottishPower.

ScottishPower has submitted a planning application for the UK’s largest electrolyser as part of the Green Hydrogen for Scotland project.

The 20MW electrolyser will be built close to the country’s largest onshore wind farm, Whitelee, just outside of Glasgow. It will be capable of producing 8 tonnes of green hydrogen a day, ScottishPower said.

Together with the electrolyser, the planning application includes a proposal to build a combine solar and battery energy storage system. This would consist of up to 40MW of solar, made up of 62,000 individual solar cells, and up to 50MW of battery storage, to work with the wind farm to power the electrolyser.

The site will sit 5km west of Lochgoin Reservoir, adjacent to the existing Whitelee Extension substation.

Green Hydrogen for Scotland is being developed by ScottishPower in partnership with specialist gas provider BOC and electrolyser manufacturer ITM Power, and is aiming to commercially supply hydrogen before 2030.

Barry Carruthers, ScottishPower’s hydrogen director, said that as eyes turned to Glasgow ahead of the COP26 summit this year, “it’s fantastic to be making this next important step towards delivering green hydrogen for Glasgow".

“Whitelee keeps breaking barriers, first the UK’s largest onshore windfarm, and soon to be home to the UK’s largest electrolyser. The site has played a vital role in helping the UK to decarbonise and we look forward to delivering another vital form of zero carbon energy generation at the site to help Glasgow and Scotland achieve their net zero goals.”

Green hydrogen will be used by difficult to decarbonise industries, as a zero carbon fuel to help lower emissions. It forms a key part of much of the government’s decarbonisation strategy, with a £171 million Industrial Decarbonisation Fund focused on green hydrogen and CCS announced in March.

Funding is going to nine projects around the UK, like the South Wales Industrial Cluster, which is looking to use solar power and battery storage to generate green hydrogen to fuel steel and other industry in the region.

The technology also formed a key part of the energy white paper, which was released in December and detailed how hydrogen can work with renewables to lower emissions.

Green Hydrogen for Scotland – which was first announced back in September – is expected to play a key part in Glasgow reaching its net zero targets, and in particular help it to create a zero emissions vehicle fleet, relying on electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles by the end of 2029.

Mark Griffin, hydrogen market development manager for clean fuels at BOC said the scale of the project highlighted the growing demand for clean hydrogen, adding that the company was “delighted to bring our hydrogen mobility and refuelling project expertise to help deliver a ground-breaking facility in Glasgow".

“Green hydrogen has a vital role to play in Scotland and the wider UK’s journey to net zero emissions providing a sustainable energy source that can provide clean, renewable energy for industries, heavy transport and companies for decades to come.”

ScottishPower is expecting a decision on the planning application this autumn.

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