National Grid construction site to be powered by hydrogen

An industrial-sized hydrogen fuel cell system will provide heat and power to the National Grid’s Viking Link construction site. 

Earlier this year (July 2020), work commenced on the Viking Link infrastructure project, a high-voltage direct-current link between the UK and Denmark, allowing the two countries to share clean energy.

Siemens Energy, the lead contractor for the construction of this project has installed a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell to provide off-grid power to the project’s construction site.

The fuel cell system will provide enough heat and power for the construction, thus removing the need for diesel generators.

The power system was installed in August and will provide 250kVA of electrical power and up to 80kW of heating to around 20 cabins across the construction village.

The cabins, which contain welfare areas, offices and meeting space, will be used by Siemens Energy employees and contractors, as work to build the access road continues, and as main works start on the converter station later this year.

Initially, the hydrogen supplied for the fuel cell system will come from conventional hydrogen sources but Siemens has said they will move to green hydrogen once a suitable supply has been confirmed.

It is estimated that by using green hydrogen, one tonne of CO2 will be saved each week, the equivalent of taking 20 cars off the road.

Energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: ‘Hydrogen has a key role to play in the UK’s journey to net-zero carbon emissions and I am delighted to see this innovative off-grid power source being installed at Viking Link.

‘It is steps such as this which will be vital in enabling a hydrogen economy to flourish in the UK as we build back better with new low carbon jobs.’

Steve Scrimshaw, Vice President, Siemens Energy UK&I, added: ‘In order to get the hydrogen economy moving we need to create a market, and it is small projects, such as this, which will increase the demand for green hydrogen, providing a pipeline of work for the supply chain.

‘We have 30 years to reach net-zero and at that point, we won’t be able to use things like diesel to power a generator. This is truly the future for off-grid power – and this project should be a model for others across the country.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay


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