Britain is to invest GBP9.4mln to build a hydrogen storage production facility at Whitelee Windfarm, just south of Glasgow.


The site in East Renfrewshire is currently the largest onshore windfarm in the UK, with the cash going towards creating the country’s largest electrolyser, the key device in splitting water into hydrogen.


Electrical energy generated by the wind farm will be used to split water with the released hydrogen to be stored on the site.


One of the anticipated uses of the energy will be to support local transport.


Estimates are that the site will have the capacity to produce enough zero-carbon fuel for 225 buses to travel nearly 100 miles each day.


Greg Hands, the UK government’s energy and climate change minister said the site will “make the UK a world-leading hydrogen economy, bringing green jobs to Glasgow, while also helping to decarbonise local transport.”


There is discussion, however, against the use of hydrogen energy for public transport use.


Friends of the Earth Scotland director Richard Dixon said that it would be more sensible and cheaper to use the electricity generated at the windfarm as power rather than for creating hydrogen.


“You’ve lost two-thirds of the energy in making the hydrogen and then using it.”


The facility at Whitelee will produce ‘green’ hydrogen, which is produced by using renewable energy, such as wind farms and solar panels.


However, not all methods of producing hydrogen are ‘clean’, with the gas created only as clean as the process by which it was produced.


‘Grey’ hydrogen is the currently dominant form of hydrogen manufacture, but as it is made using fossil fuels such as from coal gasification or steam methane reforming, this is not green fuel at all.


‘Blue’ hydrogen is where the CO2 emitted during the production of grey hydrogen is sequestered via carbon capture and storage, producing energy with low emissions, with around 90-95% of CO2 captured.


The costs involved in producing these popular types of hydrogen energy also varies.


Green hydrogen costs about GBP3.60 per kg, considerably higher than grey and blue hydrogen, which costs about GBP1.67 per kg.

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