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Orkney green energy pioneer helps pilot AI contolled hydrogen technology

By Calum MacLeod

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EMEC's onshore substation and hydrogen plant at Caldale on Eday, Orkney.
EMEC's onshore substation and hydrogen plant at Caldale on Eday, Orkney.

The Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is joining forces with H2GO Power and Imperial College London to trial the use of artificial intelligence (AI) software for hydrogen technology.

Funded by Innovate UK and the Sustainable Innovation Fund, the HyAI (Hydrogen Artificial Intelligence) project is a pilot demonstration of AI software-controlled hydrogen storage technology. HyAI will show how software integrated with hydrogen hardware can make intelligent, data-driven asset management decisions in real time and optimise renewable energy integration into the UK electricity grid.

Led by London-based H2GO Power, developers of low-pressure hydrogen energy storage and AI-driven asset management software, the project has integrated an innovative AI software platform with one of the company’s hydrogen storage units.

Trialling the system using energy data supplied by EMEC from its Hydrogen Production Plant in Orkney, the AI platform acts as an energy management system, integrating data about weather, electricity prices and grid management. It then translates this information using AI predictive algorithms to optimise the operation of the storage systems by predicting future power cost and user demands. Imperial College London’s Computer Science Department supports HyAI with data management and modelling.

With the HyAI project demonstration underway and live until summer 2021, initial results have indicated that the AI-enabled approach can produce hydrogen in a more cost-effective way, while also helping to alleviate stresses on the national grid. This has the potential to increase power reliability, allow for higher penetrations of renewable energy, a accelerate the shift to a net-zero emission economy.

How the AI system will work. Picture: H2Go Power.
How the AI system will work. Picture: H2Go Power.

Building on this project, the next steps are to facilitate a commercial demonstration of H2GO Power’s AI software platform and power to power hydrogen storage technology. To this end, H2GO has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with EMEC to install and integrate the technology at EMEC’s test site in Orkney in the future. This exciting collaboration will pilot the first energy storage unit that stores renewable energy on demand as an unpressurised solid-state-hydrogen, coupled with the AI software platform.

Dr Enass Abo-Hamed, founder and chief executive of H2GO Power, said: “This is a natural extension for our unique technology capabilities and ever-growing ambition to demonstrate to the market the importance and place of new technologies to solve pressing problems like hydrogen storage where conventional methodologies have proven problematic.

“HyAI brings us a step closer to delivering clean and sustainable energy with high degree of control, automation, intelligence and increased profitability for commercial hydrogen projects. This trial demonstrates an innovative solution for the future of green hydrogen and its multiple commercial applications with intelligence. With safety at the forefront of our decision-making process, our platform enables scalable, clean energy storage that creates significant cost savings and efficiency improvements relative to existing alternatives.”

EMEC commercial mamnager Rob Flynn added: “Renewable electricity generation far exceeds electricity demand in Orkney every year, creating a real opportunity to make use of low marginal cost excess power. This makes Orkney a snapshot of the energy system of the future, and therefore an ideal place to plug and play the technologies of the future.

“H2GO Power’s hydrogen storage technology will allow us to time-shift electricity production and generate power when it makes the most economic sense, as well as enable deep decarbonisation of the electricity grid.

“In HyAI, we are feeding in real world data from our green hydrogen facilities to support the development of the technology. The results of the HyAI project are very encouraging thus far, and via our MOU with H2GO Power, will look forward to trailing a prototype in Orkney in the near future.”

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