About the Project


BIG HIT builds on foundations laid by the Orkney Surf ‘n’ Turf initiative, which will see production of hydrogen on the islands of Eday and Shapinsay using wind and tidal energy.

Renewable electricity generated on the islands of Eday and Shapinsay is used by electrolysers to produce hydrogen, by electrolysis of water. This hydrogen is then stored as high pressure gas in the tube trailers, which can be transported to mainland Orkney.

BIG HIT uses two state-of-the-art proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers. The  Shapinsay electrolyser is 1MW capacity and Eday electrolyser is 0.5MW capacity, both located close to the renewable generation assets. The hydrogen acts as an energy-storage medium which can later be converted back into heat and power for buildings and vessels in Kirkwall harbour, as well as the fuel for the operation of zero-emission hydrogen vehicles in and around Kirkwall.

These two PEM electrolysers will produce about 50 tonnes of hydrogen each year from constrained renewables. This ‘zero carbon’ hydrogen can be used to heat local buildings, and will also be transported by sea ferry to Kirkwall in 5 hydrogen tube-trailers. In Kirkwall a 75 kW hydrogen fuel cell supplies heat and power for several harbour buildings, a marina and 3 ferries (when docked) in Kirkwall. And finally, the new hydrogen refuelling station in Kirkwall fuels the 5 Symbio hydrogen fuel cell road vehicles for Orkney Islands Council.


BIG HIT will demonstrate the Orkney Islands of Scotland as a replicable Hydrogen Territory, using curtailed renewable energy generated locally to produce hydrogen which can then be used as a clean energy vector to store and use valuable energy for local applications. The hydrogen will be used near to the point of production on Eday and Shapinsay wherever possible.

BIG HIT will demonstrate use of hydrogen as a flexible local energy store and vector, transporting hydrogen by tube trailer to the Orkney mainland. Here it will be used to demonstrate real end-use applications for hydrogen including auxiliary power and heat for ferries in Kirkwall harbour, fuelling a fleet of hydrogen range-extended light vehicles, and heating for buildings in the Kirkwall area.

The learning from BIG HIT about the benefits of using hydrogen with renewable energy sources in the Orkney Islands will support the much wider replication and further deployments of renewable energy with fuel cell & hydrogen technologies in isolated or constrained territories.  

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Community Wind Turbine
Wind turbines on the islands of Shapinsay and Eday provide renewable power.

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Wave and Tidal Power
Renewable power from EMEC is supplied to the grid.

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PEM Electrolyser
Electrolysers on Eday and Shapinsay produce hydrogen for power generation, heat and transport.

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Hydrogen Tube Trailers
Specially design tube trailers are used to transport high pressure hydrogen between the islands by ferry.

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Hydrogen Fuel Cell
The fuel cell at Kirkwall harbour delivers zero-emisison power to docked vessels and heat for local buildings.

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Hydrogen Refuelling
The BIG HIT hydrogen refuelling station in Kirkwall supports the Orkney Island Council van fleet.

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Hydrogen Vehicles
Five hydrogen fuel cell range extended Symbio vans are supplied with green hydrogen produced from renewables.