EMEC shortlisted for technology award
The European Marine Energy Centre is in the running for a prestigious award.
Orkney-based EMEC has been shortlisted for the ‘Marine Energy Technology of the Year’ award.
The Business Green Technology Awards 2016 will celebrate start-ups and established technology and engineering companies who are ‘turning the dream of a sustainable green economy into a reality’.
Stuart Brown, chief executive officer of FloWave, 2015’s winner of the Marine Energy Innovation of the Year Award, nominated EMEC.
“Orkney has an abundance of renewable energy resources and is regularly able to generate more clean electricity than it needs,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the current electrical distribution grid is already quite constrained, and this includes the cable connection to the mainland that allows the export of this clean low carbon power to the rest of the UK.
“In true Orcadian style, the team at EMEC have been both resolute and innovative in their determination to overcome this challenge, and their community-centred approach should be a lesson to all of us.”
He added: “In particular, I’ve been incredibly impressed with the development of their pioneering hydrogen project, which will pave the way for future energy systems, but more than that proves what can be achieved despite challenging grid constraints.
“Perhaps most importantly, the project, and those that follow, set out a suite of proven solutions that will have world-wide application in a variety of local scenarios.
“EMEC deserves to be acknowledged not only for their pioneering approach and technical solution, but also in making such a project work with, and for, the benefit of local companies and their community.
“As the project progresses, the benefits will be many and widespread, and EMEC’s drive and innovative approach to making marine renewables succeed no matter what the challenge makes them very worthy of the Business Green Marine Technology of the Year Award.”
EMEC has invested in an electrolyser to convert tidal power to hydrogen. Construction work is currently underway and is due to be completed in early 2017.
Building on this initiative, the ‘Surf ‘n’ Turf’ project – which sees EMEC partner with Community Energy Scotland, Eday Renewable Energy Ltd and Orkney Islands Council - will incorporate wind energy as well, using a fuel cell to convert the hydrogen back to electricity to power local ferries whilst berthed at the harbour.
This project will also develop a training programme with a view for green hydrogen to eventually be used as fuel on the ships themselves.
Surf ‘n’ Turf is paving the way for other innovative hydrogen projects. For example, BIG HIT, which will use renewably generated hydrogen to power a fleet of electric vans and two hydrogen-powered boilers in Orkney.
By piloting the generation of hydrogen from renewable energy sources, these ground-breaking new projects will help avoid grid limitations, supply local demands and support further development of marine energy projects in Orkney.
EMEC’s managing director, Neil Kermode, said: “EMEC is well known as an enabler of marine energy innovation; our test facilities have allowed pioneering work to be undertaken for over a decade.
“The addition of our hydrogen project is the latest example of our drive to remove limits from what our clients can achieve.
“Diverting tidal and wind energy into hydrogen not only opens up a way around the inadequacies in the grid, it also opens up new markets in the supply of chemicals, liquid fuels, energy storage and transportation on land and sea.
“We are delighted to have been nominated for this award, and our thanks to Stuart for putting us forward for it.”
The winner of the award will be announced at an awards ceremony on 2 December in London.