NORTH-EAST Scotland has long been a centre of excellence in oil and gas – and could now be set to lead the way in the development of hydrogen as a green fuel.

Welcoming the hydrogen strategy published by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Gordon MP Richard Thomson's only criticism was that it made no specific reference to agricultural uses for hydrogen, despite the strong interest from the farming sector.

“The Scottish Government published its hydrogen policy statement back in December 2020 when it set out its vision for Scotland to become a leading hydrogen nation in the production of reliable, competitive, sustainable hydrogen, securing Scotland’s future as a centre of international excellence as we establish the innovation, skills and supply chain to underpin our energy transition," noted Mr Thomson.

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“Energy policy is, however, largely reserved to Westminster so I therefore welcome the announcement from the UK Government of its Hydrogen Strategy. The sector represents a huge opportunity for North-east, which has already shown it can lead the way in hydrogen technology.

“The North-east has for many decades been a centre of excellence in oil and gas and, as energy transition technologies are developed, Carbon Capture Usage and Storage and other decarbonising industries could actually see the number of people employed in the sector increase as we invest and support the development and deployment of low carbon hydrogen in the region," he predicted. "Indeed, with 35% of the gas used in the UK coming ashore at St Fergus, this is key to bulk hydrogen generation.

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“However, I do feel there is a lost opportunity as the UK Hydrogen Strategy makes no mention of the use of hydrogen in agriculture specifically, though more generally it does refer to hydrogen equipment and transport which may be relevant to some agricultural settings," he added. "I know that there is strong interest in the farming sector to get involved in the potential which hydrogen technology can bring to the industry and also allow it to fully play its part in reducing emissions and I’ll be raising this with the UK Government.”