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News / African demand for Shetland expertise

Khalid Benhamou (SaharaWind -left-) and Khalid Loudiyi (UAI - right) with the Pure electrolyser.

THE PURE Energy Centre, based on Unst, has been involved in setting up Africa’s first wind hydrogen system, in Morocco.

The Shetland renewables specialist was commissioned to develop a hydrogen energy storage system to allow the utilisation of any excess energy from a small wind farm at the Al Akhawayn University, in the Middle Atlas region.

Three turbines have been installed to allow the university to use green energy around the campus, but the machines had regularly to be shut down when energy production exceeded demand.

This cutting-edge project, driven by Sahara Wind, has been supported financially by NATO under its science for peace and security programme.

Khalid Benhamou, of Sahara Wind, said: “Renewables have one major issue in that they are intermittent. We have identified that we can reduce this issue by storing excess energy produced from renewables as hydrogen and thereafter reuse the hydrogen in a fuel cell for power generation.

“We feel that coupling wind and hydrogen will play an important role in Africa’s future through a variety of applications involving the continent’s main industries.”

Pure business development manager Elizabeth Johnson said: “We are very pleased to have been involved in Africa’s first wind hydrogen system.

“We are especially pleased to have installed the latest hydrogen technologies which will be used for teaching and training Africa’s top engineers of tomorrow. We feel very proud of the hydrogen system, which operates at the back of wind power, fully demonstrating our commitment to renewables.”

Khalid Loudiyi, of Al Akhawayn University, added: “The wind and hydrogen systems will be used for training, teaching and research.

“Our aim is to strengthen our research portfolio and to develop a number of hydrogen applications such as fuel cell vehicles, cooking and even heating, as Al Akhawayn University has been built at a 1600 meter height and winters are cold here.”

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