Project seeks to develop Orkney oxygen market

Hydrogen Electrolyser A hydrogen electrolyser. Credit: Colin Keldie

A new project is exploring how circular economy approaches can be applied to optimise the efficiency of hydrogen production and stimulate the development of a local oxygen market in Orkney, Scotland.

Working on the project alongside the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is Zero Waste Scotland, which will provide 30 days business support as part of the circular economy business support service, an initiative supported by funding from both the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund through the GB£73m Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

Jon Clipsham, hydrogen manager, at EMEC said: “EMEC aim to explore the potential of the local oxygen market and are keen to receive proposals from businesses to identify local uses for oxygen.

He added: “It is hoped that the learnings from this project could be used as a basis for other island projects in Scotland and further afield.”

High hydrogen costs

EMEC has been producing ‘green’ hydrogen since 2017, however, the cost of producing hydrogen is high, as roughly one third of input energy is lost as oxygen and low-grade heat during production.

This cost is driving business innovation to increase the efficiency and circularity of the process by identifying end applications for heat and oxygen by-products. Integrating locally produced oxygen into the supply chain is expected to increase island resiliency and reduce the environmental impact of businesses currently getting oxygen delivered from the UK mainland.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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