The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has claimed a world first by generating hydrogen from tidal energy.

EMEC said that it produced hydrogen for the first time on 25 August 2017 by harnessing the power of the tides at its tidal energy test site on Orkney. Scotland.

It said that the milestone would help to demonstrate the potential for using hydrogen in place of conventional fossil fuels.

“One of the most promising uses of hydrogen is as a fuel for transport as it emits no carbon when it is consumed and, providing it’s generated by clean renewable energy sources, it becomes a carbon neutral fuel source,” said Neil Kermode, Managing Director of EMEC. “Therefore, we could see green hydrogen, over time, replace polluting fuels in our cars, vans and ferries.”

EMEC’s tidal energy test site at the Fall of Warness, Eday, Orkney, is centred around tidal energy converters such as Scotrenewables’ SR2000 and Tocardo’s TFS and T2 turbine. For the hydrogen project, the converters feed energy into an electrolyser situated next to EMEC’s onshore substation.

Supplied by ITM Power, the electrolyser uses the electricity to split water into its component parts – hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). The electrolyser is housed in a standard ISO container with hydrogen generation capacity of up to 220 kg/24hours.

“The electrolyser was set up to pilot the production of hydrogen fuel from tidal energy – and now we’ve done just that,” said Kermode. “This is a tremendous milestone for us.”

Kermode added: “Whilst the initial driver behind buying an electrolyser was to provide a storage solution to circumvent local grid constraints, the purchase has sparked off other pioneering projects around Orkney looking to use hydrogen in various means.

“So we’re now looking towards the development of a hydrogen economy in Orkney.”