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EMEC and HIAL to decarbonize Kirkwall Airport

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Image: EMEC

The European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) is partnering with Highlands and Islands Airports (HIAL) to decarbonize heat and power at Kirkwall Airport using renewable hydrogen technologies.

Supported by the Scottish Government through Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the project will see the construction and demonstration of a new hydrogen combustion engine by Doosan Babcock at Kirkwall Airport in Orkney in 2021.

This project is part of a program of initiatives led by EMEC and HIAL to decarbonize the airport. A variety of opportunities have been found in the energy use research carried out by EMEC through the ReFLEX Orkney program. The study showed that the need for room and water heating at the airport terminal was the largest cause of greenhouse gas pollution after aircraft operations.

Decarbonisation of ground-level airport operations is a significant move in allowing HIAL to achieve the Scottish Government’s goal for the Highlands and Islands to become the world’s first net zero aviation area by 2040.

EMEC contracted Doosan Babcock, headquartered in Renfrew, along with its combined heat and power (CHP) manufacturer 2G, to supply the hydrogen combustion technology. The 2G hydrogen-ready CHP system will be paired with the current airport heating system to satisfy the heating and electricity needs of the main airport buildings.

In order to be installed at the airport for an extended trial duration, the CHP plant will use green hydrogen supplied by EMEC for the generation of electricity as well as for the recovery and use of by-product heat to provide an effective and comprehensive energy solution.

This is the first 2G 100 percent hydrogen CHP system deployed in the UK and the first Doosan Babcock–2G partnership, which integrates the 2G product line with Doosan Babcock’s experience in technology integration.

“Hydrogen is rapidly emerging as a sustainable solution for the decarbonisation of the economy and a key piece of the energy transition picture.

“This exciting project, the first of its kind in the UK, demonstrates the introduction of hydrogen in novel ways, using innovative equipment from Doosan Babcock’s plant in Renfrewshire to decarbonise the airport at Kirkwall, and has the potential to be replicated by airports across Scotland as we seek to decarbonise the aviation sector in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the aspirations of our islands communities to become hubs of energy innovation and climate change leaders, with an emphasis on energy transition, renewable energy and hydrogen production and this project will help inform our options on practical measures on how aviation can help achieve those goals”.

Energy Minister Mr Wheelhouse.

“HIAL is committed to making the Highlands and Islands a net zero aviation region by 2040. This pioneering project at Kirkwall Airport is an exciting next step towards decarbonising our operations and enabling greener air services.

“HIAL aims to be a leader by implementing new, innovative technology to provide sustainable transport and carbon neutral travel options. We look forward to working with EMEC and other partners as we move towards a greener future.”

Inglis Lyon, managing director at HIAL.

“Decarbonising heating requires innovative solutions and is a challenge that must be tackled in delivering net zero energy systems, including in aviation. Orkney is now well established as a ‘living laboratory’ where new technologies, and their roles in delivering a future clean energy system, are demonstrated.

“We are very excited to build on our work supporting HIAL to decarbonise Kirkwall Airport and we look forward to collaborating with HIAL and Doosan Babcock as we seek to continue the decarbonisation of Orkney’s energy system piece by piece.”

James Walker, hydrogen development manager at EMEC.

“Doosan Babcock are excited to be working with our partner 2G and EMEC to supply the first 100% green hydrogen supply gas engine CHP plant in the UK. Doosan Babcock provide technology integration solutions to a wide range of industries. This project demonstrates that ‘green’ hydrogen can be generated from renewable power sources, stored and then used to decarbonise heat and power on commercial and industrial sites. This project is just one of Doosan Babcock’s growing portfolio of hydrogen projects and demonstrates our ability to offer our clients new and innovative solutions.”

Andy Colquhoun, CEO at Doosan Babcock.

“2G are proud innovators of CHP technology installing thousands of CHPs worldwide. We cover a variety of different gas types; however hydrogen is by far the most exciting application to date. Even though there are already 2G CHPs operating on 100% hydrogen around the world, we look forward to a strong and successful partnership with Doosan Babcock to deliver the first 2G 100% hydrogen CHP solution in the UK using our ‘agenitor’ range. We look forward to this project becoming a stepping-stone for many other industries to follow in the UK.

“The future of hydrogen is truly an exciting and revolutionary turning point for the decarbonisation of energy usage.”

Mark Holtmann, managing director at 2G.
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