Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Salmond hails hydrogen energy facility in Fife

Hydrogen Office
Image caption The £4.7m Hydrogen Office forms part of Fife's Energy Park in Methil

A state-of-the-art research facility, powered by stored energy from a wind turbine, has been officially opened by the first minister.

Alex Salmond said it was a "hugely exciting" step for the green economy.

The £4.7m Hydrogen Office in Fife is expected to become one of Europe's leading centres for the creation and development of renewable technology.

It uses surplus electricity from a turbine to electrolyze water, creating hydrogen, which is then stored.

The innovative hydrogen and fuel cell system was developed by the Pure Energy Centre in Unst.

As well as generating enough electricity and hydrogen for the heating and lighting of the Hydrogen Office, the turbine is also expected to export sufficient electricity to meet the annual energy demands of the Methil Docks Business Park.

Mr Salmond, who opened the facility, said: "Scotland has a competitive advantage in renewable power sources and the development and deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies across the energy sector can help accelerate the achievement of a truly low carbon economy, supporting skilled jobs in Scotland and helping protect the planet for generations to come."

Project manager Derek Mitchell, of Hydrogen Office Limited (HOL), said the opening of the project marked a new beginning.

He added: "Scotland has the potential to produce far more renewable energy than it currently generates for all its electrical needs; yet because we can't control when we generate energy from some renewable sources this huge potential is still limited.

"There is no need for such a limit and this breakthrough charts the future to realising Scotland's full potential.

"Storing wind energy as hydrogen; which we can do in large quantities and for long periods, means we can then use this energy for virtually anything, including in our cars, our cooking, our homes and offices.

"We can do this without generating any pollution or carbon dioxide and we can use this energy regardless of whether the wind is blowing."

Through Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish government has contributed £2.8m towards the cost of developing the Hydrogen Office building.

Fife's Energy Park is a 134-acre site located close to the new offshore wind farm leasing sites in the North Sea.

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