Global engineering and environmental consultancy Ricardo plc (LON:RCDO) and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) will work together to support the delivery of a new solar-powered hydrogen production plant on the Isle of Wight.

EMEC hydrogen storage cylinders (Credit Colin Keldie)

The green hydrogen project received feasibility funding from the UK’s Rural Community Energy Fund. Wight Community Energy, a local community enterprise running a 3.95-MW solar park on the island, will test the viability and develop the hydrogen facility, according to a press release from Ricardo.

The consultancy said it will assess the scale of hydrogen production and use and explore the commercial model for the facility. For its part, EMEC’s green hydrogen research and development (R&D) arm will be in charge of assessing the safety and regulatory aspects of the project, with a focus on the use of hydrogen in the maritime sector.

Hydrogen produced by harnessing solar power could be used by ferry and bus companies, the rail network, commercial vehicles, or for marine propulsion and energy storage, Ricardo noted.

The hydrogen production project is one of two community-led renewable energy schemes designed to help the Isle of Wight reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

“The constraints of the Island’s electricity network mean that a radical approach is needed if we are to be successful in achieving a shift to 100 percent renewable energy, an ambition we share with the Isle of Wight Council. We believe that developing hydrogen production while expanding our existing solar capacity could be a really promising avenue to explore and we are excited to progress these feasibility studies,” Wight Community Energy spokesperson Colin Palmer added.