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Aragón and Scotland towards a closer collaboration on renewable energies and hydrogen

 

A trade mission made up of 22 companies, R & D centres and institutions from both regions has visited Aragon in February with the aim of examining several practical research examples and business applications of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.

Leading international actors in the fuel cell and hydrogen fields are to meet in Aragón n the 17th and 18th of Februart in the framework of a trade mission promoted by the Regional Government of Aragón through the Foundation for the Development of New Hydrogen Technologies in Aragón and the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA).

The aim of this event, whose participants were received by Fernando Fernández, Director General of Industry, Trade, Small and medium-sized Enterprises and Handcrafts at the seat of the Government of Aragón, was to strengthen the relationship that Aragón and Scotland have had over the two past years and which crystallised in the memorandum of understanding signed in 2016. This agreement shows a commitment to collaborating in projects leading towards the implementation of hydrogen as an energy carrier, beneficial to companies from both countries. The recent World Hydrogen Energy Conference WHEC 2016 held in Zaragoza last year and the international contacts made during that event have been decisive for the organization of this relevant trade mission in which 23 companies, R & D centres and institutional representatives from the Governments of Aragón and Scotland are involved.

Fernando Fernández, Director General of Industry, Trade, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Handcrafts of the Regional Government of Aragón, highlighted “the strong ties and commercial and technological collaboration on hydrogen technologies between Aragón and Scotland”. Fernandez affirmed that “we are anticipating the future” since hydrogen “is the key to storing energy in the near future and therefore, the key that will make it possible for renewable energies to develop their full potential”.

For his part, Chris Stark, Director of Energy of the Government of Scotland stated that “Aragón and Scotland show so many similarities. We are both pursuing a renewables future with huge success. This is a great opportunity to show our knowledge and how hydrogen can play its part in this energy transition -and to establish new industrial collaborations between Scotland and Aragón”.

This trade mission, made possible thanks to the sponsorship of the Aragonese companies Calvera (trustee at the Foundation for the Development of New Hydrogen Technologies in Aragón) and Inycom took place over 2 days. The first day has been devoted to exchanging experiences on how hydrogen may contribute to achieving a balance between energy security, sustainability and social balance while boosting initiatives leading to economic growth and a transition towards an economy low in carbon emissions. The strategies dealing with carbon reduction that both Scotland (which has just published its new Energy Strategy and a Plan to tackle Climate Change with a 66 % reduction in CO2 emission by 2032) and Aragón have developed have also been discussed during the session.

On the second day of this trade mission, of a more practical nature, participants have visited specific examples of the applications of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies, such as those of the Caldera group, based in Épila; the Laboratory of Research into Fluid Dynamics and Combustion Technologies of Zaragoza LIFTEC (a mixed centre participated by the Spanish National Research Council CSIC and the University of Zaragoza); the Technological Institute of Aragón (ITAINNOVA) and the Viñas del Vero winery in Basbastro (European Project Life + REWIND).

Aragón and Scotland are already collaborating in hydrogen and renewable energy projects. The best example of this is the Project BIG HIT (Building Innovative Green Hydrogen Systems in an Isolated Territory: a pilot for Europe) in which, under the coordination of the Foundation for the Development of Hydrogen Technologies in Aragón, 12 participants from 6 European countries are involved. With a budget of 10.9 million euros – 5 million of them coming from the European Commission within the Fuel Cells Hydrogen Joint Undertaking FCH 2 JU)- the project is developing an infrastructure, on the Orkney Islands, of production, storage and distribution of hydrogen with a view to supplying energy, locally, from renewable sources, such as tidal or wind power. This initiative makes use of the experience gained from the former Surf ‘n’ Turf Project.

The Aragonese participants in this trade mission, in addition to the Foundation for the Development of New Hydrogen Technologies in Aragón, were the companies Calvera, Idom Brial, Going Investment, Lapexa, Airtex, Inycom and Lecitrailer; as well as Walqa´s Technology Park, the CSIC, the Technological Institute of Aragón; and Huesca´s Chamber of Commerce.

On the Scottish side, under the Scottish Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association, participants include the Government of Scotland, Scottish Development International, Systeng Consulting, ULEMCO, Logan Energy, Pure Energy Centre, EMEC (an important marine research centre) and the manufacturer of electrolysers and fuel cells ITM Power.

Aberdeen: Largest fuel cell installation in the UK for new exhibition centre

HyER member Aberdeen announced that the new £333million Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) is to have the largest fuel cell installation in the UK and on a par with the largest in Europe.

UK energy engineering specialist Doosan Babcock is to supply the low emission fuel cells after a ground-breaking deal that will see the creation of a dedicated on-site Energy Centre to provide power, heat, and cooling to the new exhibition centre.

Providing a total electrical output of 1.4MW, the AECC Energy Centre will also reinforce Aberdeen’s status as Europe’s Energy Capital.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “I am delighted that Doosan Babcock are to provide such an innovative part of the new AECC. The new AECC will be a modern and fit-for-purpose facility, attracting bigger names in entertainment and more major international events and conferences to the north-east, so it is fitting that it will be leading in fuel cell technology.”

Due to open in 2019, the new venue situated beside Aberdeen International Airport will provide four times the exhibition space available at the current AECC, and increase the maximum capacity to 12,500 in the arena.

Working with lead project contractor, FES and overall main contractor Robertson Group, Doosan Babcock will supply three 460kW Doosan Purecell® units to provide an independent source of reliable, affordable, low-emission heat and power for the 150-acre site.

The landmark AECC contract reinforces the credentials of fuel cells as a leading technology in the low-emission, high-efficiency combined heat and power market.

Originally pioneered by organisations such as NASA over 50 years ago, fuel cell technology now delivers a well-proven commercial heat and power solution, delivering significant air quality improvements over conventional power generation methods. There are now more than 140 Doosan Purecell® systems providing reliable, decentralised heat and power to industrial, commercial and municipal facilities worldwide.

Doosan Babcock Chief Executive Officer Andrew Hunt said: “We are thrilled to be involved in such an exciting and transformative project. The AECC and Energy Centre will contribute in multiple ways to Scotland’s economy and environment, as well as providing a pioneering example of how cities and businesses can effectively meet environmental targets. We look forward to working with FES and the Robertson Group in delivering an innovative and practical energy solution for the AECC.”

Fuel cells transform chemical energy from fuel into final electrical and thermal energy through cogeneration. The fuel cell cogeneration process delivers heat and electricity output more efficiently than the separate production of electricity and heat.

Fuel cells are flexible in terms of fuel input and can operate on natural gas from the national grid, locally produced renewable biogas or hydrogen fuel with zero emissions. Fuel cell installations can comprise single units to power commercial buildings, or multiple units for serving larger complexes, such as data centres, industrial facilities and microgrids.

 

Learn more about Aberdeen’s hydrogen activities here and here.

Full press release available here.