Renewable energy complex seeks planning approval

Proposals for a futuristic hydrogen powered renewable energy research centre in Fife were submitted for planning approval today, 9 August 2007.

If given the go-ahead, the energy research centre, will be developed in Fife as part of Scotland’s drive to become a global centre of excellence in the field of renewable energy. It will be located close to the Hydrogen Office building and will house the plant rooms for the hydrogen office building, as well as the innovative renewable energy system.

The planning application was submitted to Fife Council, for consideration by the planning committee by Scottish Enterprise Fife in a partnership including Alsherra Investments and the Hydrogen Office Ltd.

The facility will house a novel hydrogen production system which has the potential to become a world-leading renewable energy solution that will not only reduce the impact of climate change but will reduce Scotland’s future dependence on imported energy.

Willie Johnston, director of strategic projects at Scottish Enterprise Fife, said: Renewable energy is an area in which Scotland already has a growing reputation for excellence. It is becoming one of the world’s fastest growing sectors in which Scotland has a considerable presence with the potential for momentous development.

The Energy Centre is one of a number of potential projects earmarked for the emerging energy hub at Methil and we are confident that, if given the green light, the project will deliver significant economic benefit not only for Fife, but for Scotland as a whole.”

The eagerly anticipated project will become one of the world’s first fully integrated alternative energy projects combining well proven renewable energy technologies (wind and geothermal source heat pumps) with hydrogen and fuel cell energy storage technologies. The project will use surplus renewable electricity to convert tap water into hydrogen, a sustainable means of storing energy that has important environmental and economic benefits for Scotland.

The innovative system proposed for the Hydrogen Centre will be designed and built to the highest safety standards, and in close cooperation with the relevant safety authorities. The quantities of hydrogen stored by the project will be small, and is comparable in energy terms to the petrol carried by three family cars.

The submission of planning documents comes after a series of project briefing sessions held with local residents, councillors and local MSP, Tricia Marwick.

Notes to editors

About The Hydrogen Office

In the Hydrogen Office, hydrogen will be generated by passing an electric current through water (electrolysis) to break it down into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen will then be stored in gas cylinders until it is needed to supplement wind power at times of low wind and high energy demand.

The Hydrogen Office will meet its core energy needs through renewable energy sources (wind, solar and ground source heat pumps) and store surplus energy as hydrogen during times of high renewable resource availability, and then convert the hydrogen into heat and power through a fuel cell system when energy demand exceeds supply.

It will provide invaluable testing facilities for fuel cell technology developers and build confidence in investors and purchasers in the safety and performance of hydrogen and fuel cell systems whilst proving the safety and reliability of the energy source and that the technology has the potential to deliver all the energy needs of a modern office building.

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