Hydrogen Skills Partnership launched

September 13, 2021

North East Scotland College has joined forces with major players in green hydrogen, the education sector and supply chain to launch the Hydrogen Skills Partnership.

The partnership comprises ScottishPower, ITM Power, Arcola Energy, NESCol, Robert Gordon University, Energy Transition Zone Limited, Skills Development Scotland, Aberdeen University and the University of St Andrews based Hydrogen Accelerator.

Working together, the partners will collaborate in assessing the readiness of the UK supply chain to support green hydrogen projects and highlight the potential economic value for the domestic supply chain.

The Hydrogen Skills Partnership will also show the potential for green, sustainable skills and high-value jobs emerging from a future hydrogen sector, using live projects as case studies.

Commercial insights from this work will support the academic, public and private sectors as they look to maximise the positive impacts emerging from the growth of a green hydrogen economy.

NESCol, RGU, the University of Aberdeen, Energy Transition Zone and Skills Development Scotland are already working closely on the National Energy Skills Accelerator (NESA) programme and this new initiative will build upon those foundations.

Barry Carruthers, ScottishPower’s Hydrogen Director, said: “We recognise the role green hydrogen has to play in the climate emergency and we want to ensure that the UK is able to directly benefit from a thriving green hydrogen economy.

“We’re already working on a number of significant green hydrogen projects across the UK and The Hydrogen Skills Partnership will help bring together experts from industry and academia to ensure we’re able to develop a supply chain and skilled workforce who stand ready to help us make the UK one of the world leaders in green hydrogen.”

NESCol Principal Neil Cowie said: “Collaboration is vital as the region embraces the opportunities presented by energy transition and we are proud to be at the heart of a project which demonstrates the power of partnership working.

“NESCol has green energy at the centre of its operations and curriculum development, with a focus on developing the skills required to underpin the North East’s journey to net zero. Hydrogen technology is an important strand and we are committed to playing our part in ensuring the workforce of the future is equipped to help the region enhance its position as a global leader.”

ScottishPower is currently involved in a number of green hydrogen projects in Scotland, including a project to deliver the UK’s largest green hydrogen facility at their Whitelee Windfarm close to Glasgow. This project is being delivered with partners including ITM Power, owners of the largest electrolyser manufacturing facility in the world. The company is headquartered in Sheffield and has ambitions to deliver future facilities in the UK to keep pace with growing demand.

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, said: “ITM Power manufactures and promotes world-class green hydrogen solutions with a view to creating a sustainable society, free from fossil fuels, so that the next generation can breathe clean air.

“If we are to achieve this, we need to work closely with the workforce of the future to give them the skills they need to work within, and contribute towards, the future green economy. The Hydrogen Skills Partnership will use the green hydrogen projects being developed today, to build and secure the supply chain opportunities of tomorrow, enabling us to share those insights from the outset of the growing green hydrogen sector.”

Arcola Energy is working to deliver hydrogen fuel cell electric zero emission heavy duty vehicles in Scotland and establishing a new manufacturing facility and team at MSIP in Dundee. Supported by ScottishPower and ITM Power, Arcola Energy is currently delivering the Scottish Schools’ Hydrogen Challenge for COP26, helping to educate secondary school children on the role of green hydrogen in tackling climate change and the decarbonisation of transport.

Dr Ben Todd, CEO of Arcola Energy, said: “As a leader in hydrogen and fuel cell integration for heavy-duty vehicles and transport, Arcola Energy is working with Government, academia and industry partners to develop new skills and supply chain opportunities for zero-emission vehicle powertrains.  The Hydrogen Skills Partnership complements our work by bringing a focus to the future jobs and skills requirements for the future green hydrogen supply chain.”

Professor Paul de Leeuw, Chair of the National Energy Skills Accelerator, added: “The Hydrogen Skills Partnership is a great example of how industry and academia can collaborate for the benefit of the UK. We are very proud to be playing our role to equip Scotland and the UK with the diverse energy workforce required to deliver the energy transition and a thriving hydrogen economy.”