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Tue September 21 2021

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Franco-Scottish report sets out energy research priorities

27 Jul A new report outlines a series of recommendations to facilitate research collaborations between Scottish and French organisations working in floating wind and hydrogen.

image courtesy of Scottish Enterprise
image courtesy of Scottish Enterprise

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and partners have delivered the report, which has been published by the Scottish Government. EMEC has worked in partnership with French engineering firm Innosea and London-based The Renewables Consulting Group (RCG), part of ERM.

The team explored the technical innovation status of both floating wind and hydrogen supply chains in Scotland and in France.
This study was motivated by the recognition of shared priorities in Scotland and in France. Floating wind and hydrogen technologies are seen as integral to evolving energy decarbonisation strategies in both countries due to shared geographical characteristics and energy system contexts, suggesting that there are opportunities for growth, and specifically for Franco-Scottish collaboration.

The report identifies shared technical and innovation challenges in the supply chain, including the need to develop port infrastructure and offshore working practices, as well as further research and development in materials and components for both floating wind and hydrogen systems.

Opportunities and research needs associated with the integration of floating offshore wind and hydrogen systems in the future are also laid out in the report, noting that it is currently unclear whether hydrogen production facilities would best be located on or offshore if powered by floating wind.

Research conducted for the report was bolstered by direct engagement with supply chain stakeholders in both Scotland and France, including technology providers, infrastructure operators, project developers, policy makers, academics and enterprise agencies.

Stakeholders took part in a series of online workshops, interviews and questionnaires, where they shared views on continuing research needs for hydrogen and floating wind technologies, and the best means of supporting collaborative working between Scottish and French organisations. The sessions highlighted significant appetite from supply chain organisations in both countries to explore future collaborative demonstration projects with these technologies.

As a result of engagement with French organisations in the Brittany and Occitanie regions, the report recommends that the Scottish government seek to facilitate knowledge exchange and relationship-building activities between Scotland and organisations in those regions.

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Establishing a research and development platform involving organisations in Scotland, Brittany and Occitanie is a further recommendation to support collaborative innovation activity to help resolve the shared technical challenges identified.
Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport said: “Scotland has some of the best wind resource in the world, and floating offshore wind will play an important role in supporting our just transition to becoming a net zero economy by 2045 - not just for its contribution to clean electricity generation, but as a key driver of the developing hydrogen economy in Scotland.

“We will continue to maximise opportunities in new innovations and emerging technologies, including in the integration of these two important sectors, which is why I am pleased to see the outcome of this collaborative project and its recommendations. Strong international partnerships will be critical to developing Scotland's hydrogen economy and delivering our net zero objectives. I look forward to further collaboration between France and Scotland in the continued development of this work.”

Dr James Walker, hydrogen development manager at EMEC, said: “In delivering this project, we had many fruitful discussions with organisations from across the full floating wind and hydrogen value chains in Scotland and in France. All of those discussions underscored the significant upcoming opportunities for organisations in both countries to work together, and the many exciting research questions which we can busy ourselves in answering.

“We are immensely grateful to all those who have supported this project through participating in our various engagement activities.”
Hakim Mouslim, chief executive officer at Innosea, said: “We are really pleased to have participated in this important Franco-Scottish collaboration. The findings of this project represent a turning point in unlocking opportunity ahead in the floating wind and hydrogen value chains of our two countries, in particular regarding innovation activities and de-risking supply chain for the integration of these technologies.

“This in turn, lays the initial foundations of a roadmap for collaborative innovation of floating wind power for green hydrogen production, that is both scalable and competitive - potentially a game-changer in our race to net-zero.”

Dan Kyle Spearman, associate director and floating wind lead at RCG, said: “Hydrogen from floating wind will be a key vector for deep decarbonisation of industries globally. In our report, we've outlined recommendations on how Franco-Scottish partnerships can be leveraged to accelerate the commercialisation of these technologies. We are grateful to have been involved in a successful collaboration between Scottish government and industry, as well as our partners EMEC and Innosea, and we're excited for the future opportunities in this sector.”

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