Is green hydrogen the key to powering Ireland’s islands?

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Researchers from NUI Galway are participating in a new large scale experiment to examine how green hydrogen could be made a big part of Ireland’s energy system.

Green Hysland is a five-year project that will generate, distribute and use at least 300 tonnes of hydrogen per year produced from solar energy on the island of Mallorca.

Dr Pau Farràs Costa, Dr Rory Monaghan and Dr Thomas van Rensburg from the Energy Research Centre at the NUIG Ryan Institute will be closely assessing the project’s economic impact.

Dr van Rensburg said that this is a large scale demonstration which could be “replicable on tourism dependent island economies” such as Ireland.

“Islands like this can use their excellent renewable energy sources to strengthen and accelerate energy security and the low carbon transition”.

“The involvement of Energy Cooperatives Ireland means that we will be able to examine our ability to replicate green hydrogen deployment on Ireland’s islands, including the Aran Islands and Valentia Island, with their excellent renewable energy potentials.”

The project won’t just involve a few limited scale projects, but completely integrate hydrogen into all parts of Mallorca’s energy sector, from solar power generators which will produce the fuel; gas grid operators which will distribute it; and to bus operators, vehicle rental firms, homes, businesses and hotels using it for power, heat and mobility.

The project will be under an intense spotlight from people looking to see how this could help other island nations and communities secure energy independence, as well as offset climate emissions.

On top of the inherent potential for energy independence, with island communities able to manufacture their own fuel, the project also aims to demonstrate that using hydrogen fuel can cut down on emissions.

Green Hysland expects to reduce CO2 emissions in Mallorca by 20,000 tonnes per year.

Green Hysland – Deployment of a hydrogen ecosystem on the island of Mallorca is being supported with €10 million of European Commission funding. The project will entail investments by partners of up to €50 million in total.

Dr Farràs Costa said that this will be the first big opportunity to show that green hydrogen is the key to “island decarbonisation” and energy independence.

“The project has a holistic approach covering all the different end-uses from transport to heating to industry, and will be at a scale that will have an economic and environmental impact on the region.”