Green hydrogen to decarbonise Kirkwall Airport

28 January 2021 - Published by Stig Marthinsen

Pericsope partner the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is collaborating with Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) to decarbonise heat and power at Kirkwall Airport through green hydrogen technology. 

Funded by the Scottish Government via Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the innovative project will see a novel hydrogen combustion engine, provided by Doosan Babcock, installed and demonstrated at Kirkwall Airport in Orkney in 2021. 

This project forms part of a package of initiatives being driven by EMEC and HIAL to decarbonise the airport. A range of opportunities were identified in an energy consumption study delivered by EMEC through the ReFLEX Orkney project. The study found that space and water heating demand in the airport terminal represented the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions after aircraft operations. 


EMEC has contracted Doosan Babcock, based in Renfrew, together with its combined heat and power (CHP) manufacturer 2G, for the provision of the hydrogen combustion technology. 2G’s hydrogen-ready CHP system will be coupled with the airport’s existing heating system to meet the heating and power requirements of the main airport buildings. Due to be deployed for an extended trial period at the airport, the CHP plant will use green hydrogen supplied by EMEC to generate electricity as well as recover and use by-product heat to deliver an efficient and comprehensive energy solution.

This is the first 2G 100% hydrogen CHP system installed in the UK and the first of the Doosan Babcock – 2G partnership, which combines 2G’s product portfolio with Doosan Babcock’s expertise in technology integration.

James Walker, Hydrogen Development Manager at EMEC, said:

“Decarbonising heating requires innovative solutions and is a challenge that must be tackled in delivering net zero energy systems, including in aviation. Orkney is now well established as a ‘living laboratory’ where new technologies, and their roles in delivering a future clean energy system, are demonstrated. 

“We are very excited to build on our work supporting HIAL to decarbonise Kirkwall Airport and we look forward to collaborating with HIAL and Doosan Babcock as we seek to continue the decarbonisation of Orkney’s energy system piece by piece.”