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UK government announces £9.4m in funding for Whitelee green hydrogen project

With 215 wind turbines and a capacity of 539MW, the Whitelee Windfarm is the largest onshore site in the UK. Image: ScottishPower.

With 215 wind turbines and a capacity of 539MW, the Whitelee Windfarm is the largest onshore site in the UK. Image: ScottishPower.

The UK government has announced £9.4 million in funding for the Whitelee green hydrogen project.

Located alongside ScottishPower’s Whitelee Windfarm, the project will look to produce and store hydrogen using renewable energy to power electrolysers.

It is being developed by hydrogen and energy storage firm ITM Power and industrial gas provider BOC in conjunction with ScottishPower Hydrogen, and is expected to produce between 2.5 to 4 tonnes of green hydrogen per day when completed.

This will both make use of surplus renewable energy from Whitelee – the largest onshore wind farm in the UK – and help to decarbonise the UK transport sector.

“This first-of-a-kind hydrogen facility will put Scotland at the forefront of plans to make the UK a world-leading hydrogen economy, bringing green jobs to Glasgow, while also helping to decarbonise local transport – all immediately following the historic COP26 talks,” energy and climate change minister Greg Hands said.

“Projects like these will be vital as we shift to a green electricity grid, helping us get the full benefit from our world-class renewables, supporting the UK as we work to eliminate the UK’s contribution to climate change.”

ITM Power and BOC will receive the project funding as part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Energy Innovation Portfolio funding scheme. A proton exchange membrane electrolyser will be developed by ITM for the site, while BOC will manage the project’s engineering and operations.

An additional £2.25 million of government funding will be provided to the project as part of the government’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, and will see the British Standards Institution (BSI) develop technical standards for hydrogen production.

Funding for the project builds on the government’s plans to make the UK a world leader in hydrogen, outlined in its Hydrogen Strategy released in August. The strategy detailed plans to achieve 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack added that the investment in Whitelee Windfarm “illustrates how serious the UK government is about supporting projects that will see us achieve net zero by 2050”.

“In the weeks following COP26 in Glasgow, it has never been more important to champion projects like this one, which embraces new hydrogen technology while creating highly-skilled jobs. We can, and will, achieve a greener, cleaner future,” he said.

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