THE production of green hydrogen is set to begin on the west coast of Scotland amid hopes it can decarbonise transport and power hospitals.

A planning application by GreenPower has been approved by Argyll and Bute Council to produce green hydrogen, which it describes as “a zero-carbon fuel that can help meet climate obligations while delivering sustainable fuel for a range of purposes”.

It will now build a production and distribution centre at the Glenshellach Industrial Estate in Oban, with plans to help distilleries and fish farms move away from using fossil fuels.

Green hydrogen is produced by the electrolysis of water and powered by renewable energy, and the company hopes it could also be used for heating.

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It is also exploring potential hydrogen production at the proposed Barachander Wind Farm, the sister project to Carraig Gheal Wind Farm, a 20-turbine project operated by GreenPower in west Argyll.

The green hydrogen project is expected to open at the end of 2025 and could potentially export the fuel around the country.

In December, the UK Government announced funding for 11 green hydrogen projects, which it described as “essential to achieving our net zero targets”.

Paul Minto, director of green hydrogen at GreenPower, said: “With this planning consent for the Argyll Hydrogen Hub we are putting Oban on the UK green hydrogen map.

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“In Argyll there are several sectors currently dependent on fossil fuels where fuel-switching could radically reduce carbon emissions, and where jobs can be created through local production and use of green hydrogen.

“There is significant potential to decarbonise the transport sector including buses and coaches, HGVs serving distilleries, fish farms, forestry operations, refuse collection vehicles, and to fuel ferries, planes and trains.

“Green hydrogen could replace carbon-intensive fuels such as heating oil and LNG used in hospitals, leisure centres, care homes and industrial operations.”

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Rob Forrest, chief executive of GreenPower, said: “We already have renewable energy facilities in Argyll and are delighted with this approval, which means we can take further steps in the region to create clean, green jobs and more economic development.

“We can see a future where all heavy road transport and shipping is powered by green hydrogen, and where any industry using heating oils or gas can switch fuels to run on environmentally friendly green hydrogen.

“Argyll has all the ingredients for the creation of a clean, environmentally responsible, local energy system based on green hydrogen and could become a green hydrogen hub for export to the rest of the country.”