Machine learning to optimise green hydrogen production in Orkney

Professional Engineering

The Emec hydrogen production plant on Eday (Credit: Colin Keldie)
The Emec hydrogen production plant on Eday (Credit: Colin Keldie)

The production of ‘green’ hydrogen using wind and tidal energy will be optimised with real-time use of machine learning in a new project in Orkney, Scotland.

The HyAI 2.0 scheme, which today (7 March) confirmed funding of £494,000 from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will integrate an ‘AI-powered’ platform into the European Marine Energy Centre’s (Emec) hydrogen production plant on the island of Eday.

Developed by project leader H2GO Power, the cloud-based hydrogen management platform uses machine learning and optimisation algorithms to make intelligent, data-driven decisions to ensure system safety and reliability, and identify the most cost-effective times for hydrogen generation and storage. 

The 12-month project will trial the software in two phases: first, by running simulations using data from commercial use cases provided by partners Emec and National Grid Gas Transmission; and second, integrating into the Eday production plant and testing it as a ‘fully integrated pilot’.  

The HyAI system aims to control hydrogen production in real time by combining historical and forecasted data on weather, renewable generation sources including wind and tidal, and hydrogen storage capacity and electricity prices.

The Emec hydrogen production plant is a short distance from the Fall of Warness tidal test site, which hosts trials of innovative technology such as the 2MW O2 tidal turbine from Orbital Marine Power. The plant’s 0.5MW rapid response proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser produces hydrogen from excess energy from the 900kW Eday community wind turbine and the tidal turbines.

“HyAI, alongside our smart hardware storage system, addresses the unique operational challenges that come with system design, production, storage, distribution and conversion of hydrogen as a commodity,” said Enass Abo-Hamed, co-founder and CEO at H2GO Power.  

“This project is the start of many others in the pipeline. The commitment within this partnership, team competence and cutting-edge technology we’re trialling provide all the ingredients to give confidence in successful outcomes of the project and a promising scalable commercial offering.”

Rob Flynn, commercial manager at Emec, said: “HyAI will use Emec’s hydrogen production plant as a real-world use case whilst optimising our operations using artificial intelligence. This is very exciting technology, from a very exciting company.” 

Corinna Jones, head of hydrogen innovation at National Grid Gas Transmission, said: “The HyAI system has enabled National Grid Gas Transmission to develop business cases for storage requirements needed in hydrogen network transitional projects. The use of mixed storage mechanisms and being able to balance these based on weather and other factors, will enable an accelerated transition to net zero.

“Data analytics will play a vital part in the transition of the UK’s energy network. There is ever increasing complexity associated with managing the network as a whole system, and a greater reliance on renewable energy sources.”

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


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