Technology Future fuel

While wind power is going from strength to strength, fossil fuels – most notably, natural gas – remain a vital component of the energy mix for the UK and much of Europe. Fortunately, however, wind is poised to drag the latter into the future by providing the power necessary to create synthetic hydrogen. Greg Noone talks to Angus McIntosh, director of energy futures at SGN, and Kevin Harrison, a senior engineer at NREL, to find out more about the potential of wind-powered electrolysis.

in the winter, although that degree is nullified from time to time by the bracing westerlies that sweep into town from the North Sea.


Layers are advisable in such weather: jumpers sported by most, woolly hats and thermal underwear for the more adventurous residents. Reliable central heating is also a must-have. From the first stirrings of autumn to the bright light of spring, boilers relentlessly rumble across Levenmouth, warming the radiators and showers that have become a fact of life in this Scottish town for the past 50 years – all burning gas, piped from deep beneath the North Sea. The product of great masses of ancient plant and animal matter being crushed by tremendous pressures within the Earth’s crust, natural gas, when burned for power generation or heating purposes, produces carbon dioxide; a small but potent, man-made

inters are cold in Levenmouth. Sitting on the Firth of Forth, between Edinburgh and Dundee, temperatures dip to 1°C

contribution to the warming of our planet’s atmosphere. For the residents of Levenmouth, that may appear to be much of a muchness: after all, many more obvious climate-wreckers spring to mind than those hankering for a hot shower in a cold Scottish winter. Nevertheless, it is this community that will be the testbed for a sustainable alternative to natural gas – one that will owe its existence to a single wind turbine barely five miles up the coast. If all goes to plan, the H100 Fife facility built by Scottish energy company SGN will power several hundred homes in Levenmouth using so-called ‘green hydrogen’. Unlike natural gas, burning hydrogen does not produce carbon dioxide.


World Wind Technology /

Alexander Kirch/

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