A renewable gas project in Unst which could see the island at the forefront of worldwide renewable technology has been awarded a grant of £25,000 from the Scottish government.
The groundbreaking project could see three separate gases produced using renewable energy and supplied to local businesses.
The award has been made by the Scottish government’s Community And Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).
Community development group Unst Partnership Ltd will receive the cash from the CARES Infrastructure and Innovation Fund.
It will be used for a feasibility study to investigate the production and use of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen by renewable energy, using a smart management system.
Working in partnership with the island’s renewable development company, the PURE Energy Centre, and with support from Shetland Islands Council, the study will not only identify how these three renewable fuels can be made in Unst but will also investigate methods in which these gases can be directly applied to local industries and markets.
Unst has limited access to Shetland’s electricity grid. This feasibility study will not only provide reliable information on how to deploy renewables locally, but could also benefit other remote communities in Shetland and further afield that experience difficulties in renewable energy projects due to grid restrictions and location.
The study will be complete by March next year. Once it is finished, a strategic plan will be put in place for Unst, following community consultation. The aim is to ensure the results of the study initiate action, offering new opportunities so the island can benefit financially, environmentally and in the practical availability of new energy sources.
Unst local development officer Megan Burns said: “It’s an exciting project which could offer big prospects for Unst. Renewable energy is taking off worldwide, so it’s interesting working on a project which will inspire other constrained communities to get involved.
“This will have direct, long term, practical benefits for Unst as it is part of a strategic plan for renewables development. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.”
Elizabeth Johnson of the Pure Energy Centre said: “Since its inception in 2006 the Pure Energy Centre has designed, procured and installed hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen systems around the world.
“We are very pleased to be able to use our expertise to work at a local level with the Unst Partnership in assessing the feasibility of producing these gases in Shetland using constrained renewable energy.
“Any communities with grid constraint should be taking advantage of energy storage technologies to enable renewable generation and the findings from this study can potentially to be applied to any rural area.”
Project updates will be carried out on the Unst Partnership social media pages and website.