To power a remote island, submarine cables play an important role. What will happen after a submarine cable has a fraction and needs repair or maintenance? After the 32-kilometer-long cable's malfunction caused Norwegian Myken island a 2-month blackout, the residents decided to look into the hydrogen power, in order to replace the highly-polluting and high-priced diesel power generator.
For diesel generators to power the island, 700 liters of diesel needs to be transported to the island per day. However, Myken island's major business is tourism, such as site visits to the whisky and gin distilleries. From the owners of distilleries' perspectives, diesel generators bring air pollution and noises to bother residents and tourists. The community in the island would like to have more self-sustainable energy solutions to match their tourism features.
Stiftelsen for industriell og teknisk forskning (SINTEF) is Norway's largest independent research foundation for scientific and industrial researches. SINTEF believes that a hydrogen power plant might be able to replace diesel generators and submarine cables by a lower cost. A hydrogen energy researcher in SINTEF, Kyrre Sundseth expressed that hydrogen energy can be stored in the form of hydrogen for longer time than to use power cells as the sources. In other words, when there is no wind and no sunshine, hydrogen power is still available.
Myken island's polar nights last for several months each year. Without sunshine, solar power modules cannot generate electricity.
Myken island drew the attention of SINTEF, the Glomfjord Hydrogen company, and green energy groups. This collaborative team plans to hydrogen plant with solar power and wind power, to offer electricity to the island. When there is a surplus of electricity, it is used to separate sea water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen will be saved and be used in fuel cells, so as to generate power later.
From the whisky distilleries' perspectives, they currently use propane gas from diesel to distill the whisky. In the future when the hydrogen plant is up and running, hydrogen energy can be used to distill the whisky. The extra heat from the hydrogen plant can use for road heating during winter.
The research team is currently testing in Trondheim, Norway. When the experiment is successful, it might be a model for 300 other similar islands in Norway and 10,000 other islands globally.
So as to avoid the high costs of diesel and long-distance electricity cables, in the recent years, many countries have carried out renewable energy projects and micro power grid projects for their remote rural areas and islands. Taiwan's examples are Penghu's Qimei, Green island, and Wulai's Fushan village. Indonesia would like to use wave energy to power the Bali island. Greece's Tilos island is the first ever green island in the Mediterranean sea. Palau in the Oceania devotes to lower carbon emission and expenses of fuels.
(Photo credit: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) )