PLANS are afoot for a green-hydrogen-powered farming community around the James Hutton Institute's Glensaugh farm.

The institute has been awarded funding from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme to undertake a feasibility study for its 'HydroGlen' project, which would transform the Aberdeenshire research facility into an energy-efficient, carbon-neutral hub powered entirely by hydrogen and capable of supplying energy to the wider local community.

The initiative hopes to provide a demonstration for communities across Scotland of how new hydrogen technologies can make them energy-independent or even fuel producers themselves.

Senior scientist Professor Alison Hester, leader of the Institute’s Climate-Positive Farming Initiative at Glensaugh, explained: “HydroGlen aims to accelerate decarbonisation and transition to net-zero through the uptake of community and locally-owned renewable energy, offering a viable alternative model to traditional utility-based models for both urban and rural communities and potentially significant new community income streams.

“These include selling hydrogen fuel; using hydrogen to produce anhydrous liquid ammonia for fertilizer; and potentially unlocking new capital investment models.

“We aim to demonstrate that communities can achieve energy self-sufficiency from a triple energy vector perspective – electricity, heating and transport fuel – and that additional associated-decarbonisation activities are possible and feasible.”

The HydroGlen feasibility study will be led by Hutton scientists and renewable energy consultants Water to Water, with findings expected in early 2021.

Glensaugh is currently managed as an upland livestock farm of just over 1000 ha, with sheep, cattle, red deer, improved and extensive pastures, moorland, and woodland – but it is also used as an open science platform for research, technological innovations, teaching and wider knowledge-exchange, and hosts academic, industry and community groups. Work at the farm on land management, rotational grazing, woodland management, agroforestry and demonstrating best agricultural practice regularly attracts visitors from across the UK and beyond.

For more information about the Climate-Positive Farming Initiative at Glensaugh, visit