At a launch event in NUI Galway today (20 June), details of the Galway Hydrogen Hub (GH2), Ireland's first Hydrogen Valley, were revealed. NUI Galway, the Port of Galway, CIÉ Group and Bus Éireann, Aran Islands Ferries, Lasta Mara Teo, Aer Arann Islands, and SSE Renewables are all part of the GH2 consortium.
GH2’s proposal is to develop a Hydrogen Valley in the Galway region, similar to those launched in other European countries. A Hydrogen Valley is a regional ecosystem that links hydrogen research, production, distribution, and transportation with various end users such as transport and industry. The utilisation of indigenous green hydrogen at Hydrogen Valleys is considered an important step towards enabling the development of a new hydrogen economy.
As part of the planning process for the GH2 project, a public consultation meeting will take place in Galway Harbour Hotel on the 23rd of June from 4pm to 8pm, and on the 24th June from 10am to 1pm. Representatives from the GH2 consortium will be on-hand to discuss project proposals and answer questions from the public on the proposed hydrogen hub. The in-person events will offer members of the community a complete overview of the project. A brochure on the project and a feedback form will be available at the event and the virtual public consultation can be viewed on www.gh2.ie.
GH2 will position Galway as the home of Ireland’s first Hydrogen Valley, providing green hydrogen for use in transport, industry and within local communities in the greater Galway region.
The GH2 consortium’s intention is to develop an initial flagship demonstrator project at The Port of Galway, for the indigenous production and supply of clean green hydrogen fuel for public and private vehicles. The GH2 project preferred connection point to the national grid is at the Galway 110kV grid substation and will powered by green energy through a renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement with SSE, backed up by a guarantee of origin. The green hydrogen produced at GH2 project will then be distributed for use by buses and trucks initially, and then extending to maritime and aviation, to deliver a multi-modal, zero emission, green hydrogen transport hub that can be easily replicated across Ireland.
The intended hydrogen transport hub could be expected to be fully operational by the end of 2024 and today’s announcement marks a significant development in the potential for the production and delivery of indigenous renewable fuel for both the domestic and export markets. This would demonstrate Ireland’s potential as a major producer and potential exporter of hydrogen.
The development of the country’s first Hydrogen Valley is another step forward in positioning Ireland at the strategic centre of renewable energy generation and energy sector integration. Green hydrogen can provide security of energy supply, assist in countering long-term energy price fluctuation, and make a significant contribution to reducing Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonising the transport sector.
Lorcan O’Connor, Group Chief Executive, CIÉ said: “As the CIÉ Group is by far the country’s largest public transport provider, we are delighted to work with our partners in this consortium to officially launch the Galway Hydrogen Hub. This will ensure that we are at the forefront of the opportunity hydrogen fuel will provide in meeting both our own decarbonisation targets, and those of the State. It will ensure we have explored a complementary mix of zero emissions technologies, with the current focus on electrification, to power low carbon transport and meet our 2030 targets and net zero target by 2050. What we develop and learn in this innovative partnership in Galway could be transformative for sustainability in the transport sector as a whole.”
John O’Sullivan, SSE Renewables’ Project Manager for GH2 said: “Today is a key milestone for the GH2 consortium as we officially launch the Galway Hydrogen Hub. Our consortium has come together with the objective of not only using green hydrogen to realise new renewable energy solutions for Ireland but to also deliver the country’s first Hydrogen Valley. Green hydrogen is gaining global recognition as a means of decarbonising heavy duty and long-distance transport as well as industry. The development of Ireland’s first Hydrogen Valley in Galway Harbour will allow us to utilise indigenous renewable energy to produce green hydrogen for use by local road, air, sea, and rail transport alongside industry. As part of the integrated SSE Group, SSE Renewables has a view across the whole energy value chain and so is uniquely positioned to deliver this green hydrogen solution for the consortium, helping to kickstart the development of a new hydrogen economy in the West of Ireland.”
Dr Rory Monaghan, Senior Lecturer of Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “The future sustainable growth of our region will depend in large part on the availability of secure indigenous renewable energy. We are witnessing huge strides in the greening of our electricity grid with wind, but we use twice as much energy for transport, almost all of which is imported fossil fuel. The key innovation of GH2 is the use of wind to drive a zero emission, multi modal transport sector.”