EMEC’s hydrogen storage cylinders (photo by Colin Keldie)

The award of the contract to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) follows a competitive tender. EMEC will partner with French engineering firm Innosea and London-based Renewables Consulting Group (RCG) to carry out research. The aim is to understand the technical status of floating wind and hydrogen in Scotland and France and identify ways that collaboration can be encouraged to address challenges of mutual interest.

EMEC said that floating wind and hydrogen technologies are central to energy decarbonisation strategies in both countries and internationally, and that collaborative research and development can identify new engineering solutions to increase the competitiveness of the technologies.

The project consortium will evaluate the technical status of the floating wind and hydrogen production components and systems under development, taking account of the impacts of policy and innovation programmes in the two nations.

The consortium is also tasked with engaging directly with floating wind and hydrogen supply chain companies to seek feedback on existing collaboration successes as well as identify opportunities.

This spring, the consortium will hold four virtual workshops with French and Scottish industry stakeholders to understand their experiences of international collaboration and gather feedback on how future Franco-Scottish activities can be best supported.

EMEC’s hydrogen development manager, Dr James Walker is especially keen to hear from equipment manufacturers (OEMs), installers, project developers, project designers, trade associations and regional development agencies.

He said: “International collaboration and dissemination of lessons learned in innovation are integral to seeing progress in the development of floating wind and hydrogen production technologies. Both are also key aspects of EMEC’s work in testing and demonstrating the energy system of the future and we are delighted to be bringing this experience to support delivering this project.

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“We look forward to working with Innosea and RCG, and to engaging with a broad range of industry stakeholders in Scotland and France to develop recommendations for the Scottish government on means of best supporting collaborative innovation in these sectors.”

Scotland’s energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Scotland’s Energy Strategy recognises the importance of working with international partners to better understand our transition to a net-zero economy and energy system. In the run-up to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference (COP26) in Glasgow later this year, we have an opportunity to increase public awareness around the climate emergency we all face.

“This project, which sees collaboration between Scotland and our friends in France, is in line with our international energy engagement priorities for both hydrogen and offshore wind and will help to support our efforts to develop new renewable energy solutions. I very much look forward to seeing its outcomes and to utilising its findings to inform further evolution of our energy policy as we ramp up our ambition and seek to harness exciting new opportunities as we expand offshore wind in Scotland.”

The findings of the project will be published in a final report this summer ahead of COP26, which is set to take place in Glasgow in November 2021.

Hakim Mouslim, chief executive officer at Innosea, said: “Working with international partners in the transfer and integration of expertise in different marine renewable sources is very much at the heart of our work at Innosea. We understand that achieving our shared goals on climate change goes far beyond traditional thinking on renewable energy. Achieving net zero is a global endeavour, and we are really honoured to join EMEC and the RCG to accelerate learning and innovation in floating wind for green hydrogen production.”

Dan Kyle Spearman, associate director and floating wind lead at RCG, said: “Exploring new engineering solutions for floating wind linked to green hydrogen production is going to be an important innovation for the energy transition. I look forward to working with EMEC and Innosea to identify opportunities and challenges. I’m excited to work in this collaboration between industry and government and in particular working with the Scottish and French supply chains to accelerate these promising technologies.”

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