The GREBE Project is organising a networking workshop and site visits in Enniskillen on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th November 2017. We would like to invite stakeholders from Northern Ireland and Ireland in the renewable energy sector to participate in this event.
The aim is to highlight the benefits of renewable energy for SMEs and start-up businesses and give participants the opportunity to meet with biomass experts from the Natural Resources Institute in Finland (https://www.luke.fi/).
Veikko Möttönens area of expertise is wood mechanical properties, drying of wood and sawn timber, further processing of sawn wood, further processing of side streams, wood modification (thermal modification – Thermowood, preservative impregnation) and Saija Rasis area of expertise is in bioenergy production, biogas technology, gas analysis, treatment of biodegradable wastes, biorefineries. Places are limited for one to one meetings with Veikko and Saija.
GREBE Project partners from Finland, Norway, Iceland and Scotland will be available to share their knowledge. Participants from the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme (both SMEs and mentors), and other renewable energy businesses will attend and are happy to share their experiences.
On Thursday 9th November, site visits will be held at the CREST Centre in South West College, Balcas and Ecohog (an Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme participant).
The Geothermal Training Programme of the United Nations University (UNU-GTP) is a postgraduate training program, aiming at assisting developing countries in capacity building within geothermal exploration and development. The program consists of six months annual training for practicing professionals from developing and transitional countries with significant geothermal potential. Priority is given to countries where geothermal development is under way, in order to maximize technology transfer.
The first official statement on establishing a UNU geothermal institute in Iceland was made in 1975 when the United Nations University (UNU) had just been established. After a first proposal in 1976 and an international workshop in 1978, the Government of Iceland decided in October 1978 to ask Orkustofnun (the National Energy Authority (NEA)), to sign an Agreement on Association with the UNU and establish the UNU Geothermal Training Programme (UNU-GTP). The UNU-GTP has been hosted by the NEA ever since.
The first annual training session of the UNU-GTP started in May 1979 with two UNU Fellows from the Philippines. Since then, a group of scientists and engineers from energy agencies and research organizations as well as universities in the developing countries and Central and Eastern European countries, have come to Iceland every spring to spend six months in highly specialized studies in geological exploration, borehole geology, geophysical exploration, borehole geophysics, reservoir engineering, chemistry of thermal fluids, environmental science, geothermal utilization, and drilling technology.
The development of geothermal resources requires a group of highly skilled specialists from a number of disciplines of science and engineering. Because of its diversity, geothermal energy has not been taught as a common subject at universities. The training of geothermal specialists has mainly taken place on-the-job within companies and institutions. International geothermal schools have contributed significantly in the transfer of geothermal technology, especially for the benefit of developing countries.
More recently, the UNU-GTP also offers a few successful candidates the possibility of extending their studies to MSc or PhD degrees in geothermal sciences or engineering in cooperation with the University of Iceland.
The UNU-GTP was established in the shadow of the oil crisis, when nations were looking for new and renewable energy sources in order to reduce dependence on hydrocarbons, in particular oil with its rapidly escalating prices. The current situation is somewhat similar in the sense that the international community is looking towards renewable energy sources as an alternative for the hydrocarbons in order to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.
The UNU-GTP yearbook “Geothermal Training in Iceland 2016” has now been published on print and released online and is now available for download under publications on the webpage http://www.unugtp.is.
Irelands Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe announced that a total budget of €17 million will go towards the RHI scheme and the encouragement of greater uptake of electric vehicles as part of Ireland’s commitment to its climate change obligations.
€7 million will be allocated for the government’s long-anticipated Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme in 2018. The allocation is lower than predicted by industry representatives, but with applications only expected to open in the second half of 2018, next year will not be a full operational year for the scheme. The scheme is aimed at encouraging industrial and commercial heat users, in the Republic of Ireland, to switch to greener technologies. An RHI scheme was first considered as part of the Bioenergy strategy consultation in 2013, and included in the Draft Bioenergy Plan in 2014.
The RHI will support the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy systems – such as biomass boilers. The scheme will present a significant opportunity for the domestic bioenergy sector benefiting farmers, foresters and rural communities.
The Regional Council of North Karelia and Karelia University of Applied Sciences organised Eastern Finland Bioenergy Days in 26th-27th of September. Seminar covered policy and business developments of the sector, and excursions headed to the renewable energy demonstration at Sirkkala Energy Park (Karelia UAS), Eno Energy Cooperative and John Deere Forest machine manufacturing.
The seminar programme included presentations and discussions on the sector development, especially on latest policy development in climate and energy, ie. legislative proposal to integrate greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use-change and forestry (LULUCF) into the 2030 climate and energy framework. The potential impacts of the prepared legislation to the Finnish forestry, bioenergy sector and their carbon emissions were discussed in several presentations. The Finnish discussion and controveries experienced are deatailed in a blogpost by the University of Eastern Finland.
The excursion to the Eno Energy Cooperative included company history, forest supply chain practices, socio-economic impacts, and the latest investment on 21 kWe Solar PV. The Solar PV system was installed by a local company, Mirotex ltd., and it was part of the joint procurement process together with 4 other energy enterprises in the region.
The Eno Energy Cooperative shares actively good practices through the networks of heat entrepreneurs both regionally and nationally, and is also know reference site for international visitors. The EEO is one of the three EES (Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme) roll-out companies in Finland and will receive targeted mentoring support during the third year of the project.
The Nordic countries have been joining forces in the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership, SHHP, since 2006 with the purpose of deploying hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and constructing and clustering hydrogen refueling stations. Thanks to this, the region has distinguished itself as one of the earliest areas in the world where the latest hydrogen technology is demonstrated.
One of the advantages of hydrogen is that it can store energy from all sources, including renewable energy sources. Hydrogen as an energy carrier is a very flexible alternative. Therefore hydrogen will play a key role in the necessary transition from fossil fuels to a sustainable energy system.
And at the moment it seems like the transportation sector can use renewable energy produced hydrogen to replace fossil fuel – as the market experience roll outs of both refueling networks and transportation vehicles.
Electrolysis – where electricity splits water to hydrogen and oxygen, is a useful method for producing hydrogen from renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydro power. In this way hydrogen can play a role to balance the grid.
As with other fuels and energy carriers, hydrogen must be handled with special requirements. Since hydrogen has been used in the industries for over a century, we have very good knowledge of how to deal with it in order to minimize the risk of incidents.
Modern batteries have less energy loss than fuel cells and will play an important role in future transport. But the disadvantages with batteries are that they demand long charging times and are quite heavy. The combination of fuel cells and batteries in vehicles has proven very beneficial. Supplemented with fuel cells, electric cars will dramatically increase range and the refuelling takes only a few minutes, but in the transportation sector you also would need a lot of power to move heavy cargos – that means a lot of battries in each vehicles, not a problem for long distance trucks.
Network of refueling stations
The Scandinavian hydrogen cooperation consists of regional clusters involving major and small industries, research institutions, and local, regional and national authorities – Showing a multitude of pathways for hydrogen supply using local resources. The national networking bodies – Norsk Hydrogenforum in Norway, Hydrogen Sweden in Sweden and Hydrogen Link in Denmark – act as coordinators.
The Scandinavian hydrogen cooperation has as it’s goal to create one of the first regions in Europe where hydrogen is available and used in a network of refuelling stations.
All activities are based on effective collaboration across the borders and are backed with strong public and private support in terms of funding, attractive financial tax exemption schemes and investments. The main goal is to create one of the first regions in Europe where hydrogen is available and used in a network of refuelling stations. The first step is to connect the largest city in Scandinavia in a network of refueling stations:
The challenge would be to move this network of refueling stations further north. The plan is to move the hydrogen corridor further north – step by step.
Hydrogen – a solution for the transportation sector
The EU-parliament passed the directive Clean Power for Transport in September 2014, which will secure the roll out of alternative fuels such as methane, hydrogen and electric charging infrastructure with common standards throughout the EU. Plans on a national level for fossil free energy systems are in place both in Sweden, Norway and Denmark – and all of the Scandinavian countries have ambitious goals for replacement of fossil fuels in the transportation sector.
The dependence of fossil fuels in the transport sector is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Scandinavia. To be able to lower carbon dioxide emission, the overall energy consumption needs to decrease and the use of renewable energy increase.
The Hydrogen value chain
The Scandinavian hydrogen cooperation will strive to build up knowledge of strategies for business models for development and operation of hydrogen infrastructure for vehicles, as well as for establishing production and distribution of hydrogen. In this situation it would be necessary to look closer into the hydrogen value chain: solutions within production, storage, distribution and use of hydrogen that meets the renewable society challenges.
The Scandinavian hydrogen cooperation wants to strengthen the use of hydrogen in the transportation sector – so that hydrogen could be a replacement for fossil fuels in the transportation sector in the future – also in the northern parts of Norway.
On Wednesday 27th September 2017, the innovative Surf ‘n’ Turf hydrogen community energy project was officially launched in Orkney by the Scottish Government’s Business, Innovation & Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse.
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, stated “Hydrogen itself and hydrogen fuel cells both have huge potential in Scotland’s low-carbon energy system and we have already supported a number of world-leading hydrogen demonstration projects.
We will continue to support innovation in suitable hydrogen initiatives and explore the practicalities of using hydrogen as a zero carbon substitute fuel for the heating of homes and businesses in Scotland and in transport.
Hydrogen energy technologies are in the early stages of development in Scotland but there is growing global awareness of their potential in the decarbonisation of heat, industry and transport. We are actively considering what role hydrogen can play in Scotland’s future energy system as part of the Scottish Energy Strategy, and projects like Surf ‘n’ Turf have a very important role to play in informing that work.”
The “Surf ’n’ Turf” project is led by Community Energy Scotland, in collaboration with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Orkney Islands Council, Eday Renewable Energy and ITM Power. The project has received £1.3m (€1.5m) of Scottish government funding through the CARES programme and Local Energy Challenge Fund.
Mark Hull, Community Energy Scotland’s Head of Innovation said: “We never forget why we took on this challenge: we want community energy to work so that local people benefit directly from their renewable energy.
This hydrogen pilot has been the best opportunity for Eday due to their location, type of grid limitations, its fantastic energy resource and the chance to power the local ferries with Orkney’s own fuel. We are proud, together with the community and partners, to have cleared the hurdles and reached this milestone.”
Orkney is an archipelago off the north-eastern coast of Scotland. There is a plentiful amount of natural resources (wave, tidal, wind and solar), which allows for the electricity to be generated locally from renewable resources. On many occasions the generated electricity is more than what is needed by the local population and the surplus is exported to the UK National Grid. In some instances, a problem arises with an over-production of green electricity, as the grid connection in Orkney is not large enough to support the export of all that is produced. This results in curtailment of the production of green electricity and clean energy being unharnessed.
Eday Island hosts the tidal site of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and has around 200 residents, which own collectively 900kW wind turbine through Eday Renewable Energy. Both Eday’s wind turbine and EMEC’s tidal turbines are susceptible to curtailment because of the non-firm grid connection.
Andy Stennett, Managing Director of Eday Renewable Energy Ltd said: “The ERE team is proud to be part of such an innovative pilot. We expect to reclaim electricity that was previously lost, meaning more revenue, and more money we can pass to our community.”
Surf ‘n’ Turf provides Eday’s community-owned wind turbine and EMEC with equipment to convert and store the surplus energy as hydrogen. The fuel cell (75kW) was the final piece of the hydrogen project and it was delivered and install by Arcola Energy in collaboration with German Proton Motor. The hydrogen is compressed by EMEC’s electrolyser, stored and transported to Kirkwall for off-site use, where the fuel cell will convert it back into electricity for use by the inter-island ferries while berthed at the pier. EMCE produced the world’s first tidal-powered hydrogen in August this year.
James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council, said: “This is all about turning a problem into an opportunity – a home-grown solution to the difficulties grid restraints cause for a community with abundant renewable energy resources.
The result is a world-leading project that rightly is attracting international interest. I am confident that this will be the first of many pioneering ways our community will find to utilise hydrogen produced using Orkney’s natural resources.”
The GREBE Project has published a report based on case studies on the awareness and understanding of funding for renewable energy businesses. The report can be downloaded from the GREBE Website here
The key objective of this report was to identify and promote opportunities for policy to provide an effective supportive framework for sustainable renewable energy business (both new and emerging). The focus of this report was on the support and benefits that each case study received, including how the supports and benefits helped each business in terms of creating employment, finance or diversifying their business. This report examines the funding mechanisms, criteria, application practicalities and business outcomes and innovations in the case studies.
When carrying out the report, the most popular funding mechanisms available to the renewable energy businesses were research & development supports and also financial supports. In Ireland one company received a support towards creating employment through the JobsPlus scheme. JobsPlus is an employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who offer employment opportunities. On the other hand support mechanisms such as social support, were not as popular throughout the partner regions.
Through analysing the chosen case studies, Finland, Iceland and Scotland have a number of different funding mechanisms were available to companies for certain types of projects, whereas in Northern Ireland only one type of support was available for certain projects.