Today’s Solutions: March 03, 2024

The Orkney Islands are a small collection of about 70 rainy landmasses in northern Scotland. Although not well known, these tiny islands have silently been mastering the creation of green hydrogen power, an energy source with zero carbon emissions that, unfortunately, isn’t always eco-friendly to produce. 

The most common strategy for hydrogen power production is the emissions-intensive fossil fuel extraction method. Most methods are very expensive, so few researchers are looking to hydrogen as a green power solution. A small fraction of hydrogen power, about two percent, comes from electrolysis, which uses leftover energy from wind or solar power generation. 

Most wind or solar farms don’t have the energy to spare for hydrogen power production, but the Orkney Islands have some of the strongest winds in Europe, making them an ideal location for this method. In fact, wind farms and tidal turbines on the islands are so effective, that they were generating more power than the grid could handle and had to be shut off for periods of time. Researchers turned to hydrogen as a way to capture this excess energy and use it for good. 

Researchers quickly learned how to store and move hydrogen before eventually converting it back to usable electricity. This project, called “Surf n Turf,” turns the leftover renewable energy into hydrogen which powers a local ship, a fleet of cars, and potentially the world’s first hydrogen-powered sea ferry in the near future.

Using the natural advantages of their climate, the islands are able to meet 100 percent of their electricity needs using renewable sources and the move to hydrogen power allows them to expand these sources to meet the needs of even more widespread energy users like vehicles, boats, and other transportation systems. Creating eco-friendly hydrogen power is tricky, but the Orkney Islands are demonstrating that electrolysis can effectively be scaled up to meet growing energy demands.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

This is your brain on music

Music does something to humans like no other animal. The rhythm gets inside our bodies and we can’t help but move along with the ...

Read More

Recruiting kombucha in the fight for sustainable drinking water

We’ve previously reported about the use of kombucha for a number of innovative reasons. Like stylish compostable shoes, sustainable wood alternatives, and as the ...

Read More

How a group of islanders is using AI to save coral reefs

Coral reefs are some of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems, providing not only a key habitat for many species of marine life but also ...

Read More

Opting out: 4 alternative movements to redefine Black Friday

Right now, the Black Friday shopping festivities are undoubtedly engulfing our screens and storefronts. It's easy for consumerism to take center stage, but nonetheless, ...

Read More