Today’s Solutions: August 15, 2022

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

Chicago pledges to run all city operations with clean energy

As countries large and small struggle with the undeniable impacts of climate change, more and more cities are taking a lead in mapping out strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  One particularly fruitful avenue to ... Read More

Sustainable supersonic jets could soon take to the skies

In 1947, the first supersonic jet took to the skies, with American pilot Chuck Yeager becoming the first to break the sound barrier. To make the technology mainstream, the British and French governments joined forces to ... Read More

This wooden steak knife is three times stronger than steel

Scientists from the University of Maryland may have discovered a more eco-friendly alternative to ceramics and stainless steel for our knives and nails by figuring out how to chemically alter wood so that it can ... Read More

Explorers in China find prehistoric forest hidden in giant sinkhole

At a time when the entire world is concerned with the far-reaching effects of years and years of unchecked deforestation, the astounding discovery of an ancient forest inside an enormous sinkhole in China is welcome ... Read More