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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.