Hydrogen Renewable Energy

18 May 2023

Fuelling Scotland's ambitions: Ricardo explores hydrogen demand mapping to accelerate sustainable transport and decarbonise distilleries

Ricardo is renowned for its world-leading expertise advising multi-nationals on corporate decarbonisation, and across the full hydrogen value chain: from policy advice through commercial or economic strategy to technology innovation and safe implementation for transportation on land, air and sea. 
A suite of three reports, including two prepared by Ricardo, have been unveiled by Scottish Enterprise, shedding light on the potential demand for hydrogen as a viable alternative to fossil fuels in Scotland. This research, building upon previous studies, is set to inform the way in which the future of transportation and the decarbonisation of industry in Scotland is envisioned. Here, Ricardo’s Head of Hydrogen, Dr Hamish Nichol, tells us more about Ricardo’s findings. 
“Our latest work relating to hydrogen refreshes estimates on the potential utilisation of hydrogen in the transport sector, encompassing new sectors that were previously unexplored.  By identifying these untapped opportunities, the research not only propels the hydrogen market forward but also helps hydrogen producers and their supply chains discover new customers within Scotland.” 
“Key findings from the transport study highlight that the shipping sector has the highest demand potential for hydrogen. With Scottish ports serving as international and heavy freight hubs, there is a growing need for energy-dense fuels such as ammonia.”  
“Additionally, sectors facing challenges with electrification for vehicles covering long routes, including heavy goods vehicles, ferries, and aviation, also present significant opportunities for hydrogen adoption. New prospects could emerge within construction and agricultural vehicles as decarbonisation deadlines draw closer. As we well know at Ricardo, buses and passenger rail have played pivotal roles in hydrogen demonstration projects. We have worked on a hydrogen fuel cell bus demonstrator for the UK’s first hydrogen transport hub With partners, we have also worked on the Holistic Hydrogen Approach to Heavy Duty Transport (H2H) project which identified significant benefits for network operators and hydrogen producers from the flexible connection and operation of green hydrogen production.  A proposal for a multi-million demonstration project has been developed – covering multiple types of heavy duty transport and rail to increase the benefits.”  
“In the last six years alone, 20 distilleries have opened in Scotland, bringing the total distilling-related businesses in Scotland to 245 – several of which produce rum and vodka, over 90 that produce gin , and over 140 that produce whisky. Whisky exports represented 6.2 billion GBP in 2022, equating to 75% of all Scottish food and drink exports. With the Scotch whisky sector looking at multiple options to decarbonise its operations, our research also takes a deeper look at how distilleries can evaluate whether hydrogen is the right choice for their heating requirements.”  
“The major share of carbon emissions from distilleries is from generating heat, typically to raise steam from a boiler, this non-continuous process calls for heat on demand at various stages of the production process. Ricardo’s scientifically based, impartial, assessment of the pathways to decarbonise assessed the potential for how hydrogen could be used.”  
“The distilling industry is no different to the many other industrial sectors with which Ricardo works as there is rarely a ‘one size that fits all’ solution. Factors such as site location, energy usage and demand profile, all contribute to selecting the optimal pathway, such as Ricardo has already done for Nc’Nean distillery.” 
“The research outcomes of this work will serve as a valuable resource for Scottish Enterprise and its partners, guiding their efforts to support hydrogen producers and stimulate demand across sectors and businesses eager to embrace the potential of hydrogen in their processes. By leveraging this knowledge, Scotland aims to cement its position as a frontrunner in the global race towards achieving a net-zero, low carbon future.” 
"Our partnership with Scottish Enterprise on this project reflects our unwavering commitment to driving sustainable solutions and propelling the energy transition forward. By harnessing the power of alternative fuels like hydrogen, we are paving the way for a cleaner, greener tomorrow.” 
“This ambitious initiative marks yet another milestone for Ricardo, as we continue to apply cutting-edge research innovation and safe implementation and integration of new technologies, to contribute to the global pursuit of net-zero emissions and a low carbon future.” 
To learn more about how these key findings from the hydrogen reports can influence your decarbonisation strategy, we’ll provide comprehensive and independent guidance on all types of hydrogen projects click here →