Ireland’s energy sector to learn from Mallorca testbed
MaREI at NUI Galway researchers Dr Rory Monaghan, Dr Thomas van Rensburg and Dr Pau Farràs Costa are taking part in a green hydrogen research project in the Mediterranean which will help chart a path for the renewable energy enabler to be used in Ireland.
Green Hysland is a five-year project that will generate, distribute and use at least 300 tonnes of hydrogen per year produced from solar energy on the Balearic island of Mallorca. In the process, it will reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year.
The project will embed green hydrogen in the island’s whole energy system, from solar power generators which will produce the hydrogen, to gas grid operators which will distribute it and to bus operators, vehicle rental firms, homes, businesses and hotels using it for power, heat and mobility.
NUI Galway researchers Dr Pau Farràs Costa, Dr Rory Monaghan and Dr Thomas van Rensburg, members of the Energy Research Centre at the University’s Ryan Institute, will assess the economic impacts of the green hydrogen on Mallorca, as well as on other island communities involved in the project, including the Aran Islands.
Dr Farràs Costa, of NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry, said: “Green Hysland will be the first opportunity to demonstrate how green hydrogen holds the key to island decarbonisation and energy independence. The project has a holistic approach covering all the different end-uses from transport to heating to industry, and will be at a scale that will have an economic and environmental impact on the region.”
Green Hysland – Deployment of a hydrogen ecosystem on the island of Mallorca is being supported with €10 million of European Commission funding. The project will entail investments by partners of up to €50 million in total.
Antonio Llardén, President of Spanish gas company and project coordinator Enagás, said: “Projects like Green Hysland are a sign of the importance of coordination and cooperation to advance the decarbonisation process. Thanks to the 30 entities that are part of the consortium, the entire value chain is represented in the project, which ensures both the deployment of infrastructure for the production of green hydrogen and its use in final applications.”
Dr Thomas van Rensburg, of the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “This highly relevant large-scale demonstration project is replicable on tourism dependent island economies around the world, including Ireland. Islands like this can use their excellent renewable energy sources to strengthen and accelerate energy security and the low carbon transition. The involvement of Energy Cooperatives Ireland means that we will be able to examine our ability to replicate green hydrogen deployment on Ireland’s islands, including the Aran Islands and Valentia Island, with their excellent renewable energy potentials.”
Dr Rory Monaghan, of NUI Galway’s School of Engineering, said: “NUI Galway is an established leader in green hydrogen through research in other European projects. The research team will use its expertise in the technologies, economics, and public acceptance of renewable hydrogen to examine its role in the decarbonisation of island communities. We will help to create hydrogen value chains to maximise the economic and employment possibilities of hydrogen in Mallorca and other tourism-dependent islands closer to home.
“The potential and ambition for Mallorca alone is huge. Take for example the 20,000 tonnes reduction in CO2 emissions as part of this research – that is the equivalent of the energy use in more than 2,300 homes in a year.”
The Green Hysland project will evaluate the socio-economic impact of green hydrogen on Mallorca by examining human capital, well-being and energy security. It will seek to capture the economic value of low carbon tourism and identify skills and training programmes which are required to further develop the island ecosystem and replicate it to other regions.