Hydrogen fuel cell system to power Viking Link site

A hydrogen fuel cell system has been delivered by Siemens Energy and GeoPura to provide off grid power and heat to National Grid’s UK Viking Link construction site in Lincolnshire.

According to Siemens, the fuel cell arrangement will serve the site during a period of six to eight months when the remote site is without a grid connection.

The system will provide 250kVA of standard three phase, 400V electrical power and up to 80kW of heating to around 20 cabins across the construction village.

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Demonstrated by Siemens at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019, the fuel cell system has been further developed by GeoPura to use waste heat that is passed through a heat exchanger to heat water. The water is then piped to heat two drying rooms for the site workers’ personal protective equipment.

According to Siemens, the fuel cell system is incorporates 216kWh of battery storage, used to smooth the peaks in power demand and improve the efficiency of the system.  The battery storage also means that should the hydrogen supply be interrupted, the output of the system will be unaffected and can supply power autonomously for several hours.

In addition to powering the cabins and drying room, power will also be provided to six electric vehicle charging points on site.

Initially the hydrogen supplied for the fuel cell system will come from conventional hydrogen sources but will move to green hydrogen when a suitable supply has been confirmed. Around seven tonnes of hydrogen will be needed across the duration of the project.

Siemens Energy said the fuel cell system is based on a single 20ft shipping container which houses all the equipment needed to convert the hydrogen into electricity and heat. Around 300m of reusable piping has been installed at the site to distribute hot water from the fuel cell to the cabins and drying rooms.

In a statement, Steve Scrimshaw, Vice President, Siemens Energy UK&I, said: “This is a great project and I’m delighted that we as Siemens Energy, with our partner GeoPura, have been able to walk the talk on how to build the hydrogen economy. In order to get the hydrogen economy moving we need to create a market, and it is small projects, such as this, which will increase the demand for green hydrogen, providing a pipeline of work for the supply chain.

“We have 30 years to reach net zero and at that point, we won’t be able to use things like diesel to power a generator. This is truly the future for off grid power – and this project should be a model for others across the country.”

Viking Link project is a joint venture between National Grid Ventures, and Energinet. The 1.4GW high voltage electricity interconnector will be the longest in the world when completed, stretching 765km subsea and onshore connecting from Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire, UK and Revsing in South Jutland, Denmark.