The Scottish Government is investing £10 million to help develop hydrogen as part of a “cleaner, greener energy system”.
The Hydrogen Innovation Scheme aims to provide capital support over the next four years, and is part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to invest £100 million in hydrogen over the course of this Parliament.
Ministers have already set the “clear ambition” for hydrogen to be able to produce five gigawatts (GW) of power by 2030, with this to increase by 25GW by 2045.
Hydrogen is seen as a cleaner alternative to methane – the main constituent of natural gas from oil and gas fields – with water vapour produced when it is burnt, rather than carbon emissions.
Net Zero and Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said that Scotland “has the resources, the people and the ambition to become a world leader in hydrogen production for both domestic use and for export to Europe”.
He added: “The Scottish Government is committed to working with the energy sector to establish hydrogen as an important part of a cleaner, greener energy system, supporting a just transition for the industry both home and abroad.”
Meanwhile, the Hydrogen Innovation Scheme “provides important, near-term investment to help the sector develop, diversify and realise it’s potential to support our transition to a net-zero economy,” he said.
Andy McDonald, the head of low carbon transition at Scottish Enterprise, said that it shared “the ambition to develop Scotland as a leading hydrogen nation”.
Mr McDonald stated: “It is important in an emerging sector like hydrogen that we support Scottish companies and projects now to develop new techniques and technologies which can help us to realise our future ambitions in this sector and to retain as much value and intellectual property in Scotland as possible.
“Scottish Enterprise is engaged with the Hydrogen Innovation Fund and supporting its implementation.”
Nigel Holmes, chief executive officer of the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, welcomed the funding, saying: “The Hydrogen Innovation Scheme will help Scotland to develop our hydrogen supply chain and build the international partnerships to grow Scottish capacity and export capabilities.
“This is a great opportunity for our manufacturers, innovators, and researchers not yet involved in the hydrogen sector to establish new activities in Scotland.”
Environmental campaigners at Friends of the Earth Scotland stressed, however, that government funding must not go to projects which use fossil fuels to produce hydrogen.
Climate campaigner Alex Lee said: “The Scottish Government must not hand out any more public money for the development of hydrogen from oil and gas, which will produce even more climate pollution and give fossil fuel companies a chance to greenwash their dangerous plans to keep on drilling in the North Sea.
“Producing hydrogen from fossil fuels is an expensive and unnecessary way to clean up our energy system due to its reliance on dodgy technologies like carbon capture and storage which fail to work at the scale its backers claim.
“This approach is far from zero carbon and keeps us locked into the same volatile system of oil and gas which is already unaffordable for millions of people.”