Tidal Energy Storage

An integrated hydrogen system for use at the EMEC tidal test site on Orkney, Scotland.

ITM Power won a competitive tender to supply an integrated hydrogen system for use at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) tidal test site on Eday, Orkney, Scotland.  The system’s principal component is a 0.5MW polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyser with integrated compression and up to 500 kg of storage.

“It will allow us to not only pilot the production of hydrogen fuel from tidal energy, but will allow surplus renewable energy on the island to be used without having to rely upon the inadequate grid.”

The 0.5MW electrolyser will be used to absorb excess power generated by the tidal turbines testing at EMEC. The hydrogen gas generated will be compressed and stored, with some of the gas being used in (an optional) hydrogen fuel cell to provide backup power to critical EMEC systems. The remainder of the hydrogen gas will be used off-site by a further project being developed separately which plans to absorb output of a local community wind turbine operated by Eday Renewable Energy Ltd.

ITM Power are supplying, integrating, commissioning and maintaining all parts of this system. The electrolyser will be packaged in a standard 20’ and 10’ ISO container and is summarised below:

  • Hydrogen generation capacity up to 220kg/24hours
  • Self-pressurisation up to 20 bar
  • Rapid response
  • Hydrogen purity satisfying ISO 14687
  • CE compliant


Neil Kermode, Managing Director, EMEC, commented:
“We are really excited about the deployment of ITM Power’s PEM electrolyser system on Eday. This is an innovative way to tackle the shortcomings of the local grid which is holding back marine energy in Orkney. It will allow us to not only pilot the production of hydrogen fuel from tidal energy, but will allow surplus renewable energy on the island to be used without having to rely upon the inadequate grid. We really see this as the moment we begin to break away from the shackles of a 20th century cable architecture.”

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO, ITM Power, commented: “We are delighted with this sale and to be working with EMEC on the Orkney Islands.  ITM Power’s PEM Electrolysers are perfect for island deployment given the logistics of power distribution and fuel supply and this application by EMEC is a fantastic example as to how the rapid response functionality of ITM’s systems offer freedom from the grid constraints of distributed and remote renewable energy.”

OpenHydro Open Centre Turbine at EMEC

EMEC Electrolyser in build at ITM Power

Project partners
European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)
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