Kerry’s Valentia Island chosen to join European hydrogen project

3 Feb 2023

Valentia Island Lighthouse. Image: Ari Bronstein (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A new study will explore the potential hydrogen has in decarbonising the island, by powering transport and businesses.

Valentia Island in Kerry has been selected as one of 15 European locations that will receive support to develop clean energy.

A new study will explore the role of hydrogen in decarbonising energy on the island, particularly around maritime use cases such as sea transport.

The study – called H2orizon – will also examine the potential for businesses and other modes of transport to use hydrogen.

The project is being funded by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, a Brussels-based organisation that aims to support research, technological development and demonstration activities in hydrogen energy in Europe.

Hydrogen consultants – selected by the partnership – will explore various opportunities on Valentia Island, such as green hydrogen infrastructure for tourism, marine travel and powering industries such as the local distillery.

Colum O’Connell, chair of the Valentia Island Energy Group, said other governments around the world recognise the “opportunities hydrogen can bring”.

“The recently published Climate Action Plan 2023 included specific actions to enable the use of hydrogen across industry, enterprise and transport,” O’Connell said. “However, we need more clarity at national level on what our strategy is.”

Valentia Island and the surrounding region recently completed an energy masterplan and feasibility study into renewable and green technologies.

This work was supported by GenComm, a research project led by Belfast Met which addresses the energy sustainability challenges of European communities through smart hydrogen-based energy projects.

“H2orizon is about utilising green hydrogen to provide an energy catalyst to build stronger, resilient communities and using energy to ensure remote communities are connected,” said GenComm project manager Paul McCormack.

Demand for green hydrogen

There has been a growing demand for Ireland to capitalise on the potential of green hydrogen. Last January, the representative group for the Irish wind energy industry called on the Government to create a hydrogen strategy with a focus on green hydrogen development.

McCormack also said last year that Ireland is at the “epicentre of the hydrogen revolution” with a number of national and international projects working in this area.

Last September, Irish green energy company EIH2 signed a deal with the ports of Cork and Amsterdam to establish a supply chain for green hydrogen between Ireland and the rest of Europe. Earlier that month, ESB and energy company DCarbonX expanded their partnership in green hydrogen storage projects off the coast of Ireland.

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Valentia Island Lighthouse. Image: Ari Bronstein via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic