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A conference at Aberdeen’s Double Tree by Hilton Hotels, organised by Environmental Resource Management (ERM) and Pale Blue Dot Energy in partnership with the Interreg North Sea Region HyTrEc2 project, Aberdeen City Council, H2 Aberdeen, Opportunity North East (ONE) and Scottish Enterprise, discussed the new opportunities that the Hydrogen economy could bring to the North East of Scotland earlier today.

Keynote speakers included: Matt Hitchens – Senior Policy Advisor at BEIS, Stuart McKay – Policy Lead for Carbon-Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and Hydrogen at the Scottish Government, Phillip Bell – Councillor for Aberdeen City Council, Adele Lidderdale – Hydrogen Project Officer for Orkney and Islands Council (OIC) and Tara Schmidt – Principal Consultant at Environmental Resource Management (ERM).

After the Paris agreement was signed by the United Kingdom in November 2016, the UK has been looking at ways in which industry can sustain employment whilst reducing carbon emissions. Today’s conference explored this vision and the opportunity for Hydrogen, its production and applications, as well as hearing from current Hydrogen projects from across the UK.

Companies in attendance included: Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Aberdeen City Council, Department for International Trade (DTI), Oil and Gas UK, Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), Opportunity North East (ONE), Scottish Enterprise, the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), as well as many of the Oil and Gas supply chain looking to diversify into a potentially very lucrative sector.

Aberdeen City Councillor, Phillip Bell, BSc, CEng MIET, once a Senior Engineer with Shell working in the Oil and Gas industry, enthused about the opportunities that this new sector presented, and was keen to point out that it will not replace the Oil and Gas industry, but compliment it “Clearly we need to decarbonise the world and Hydrogen is an infinite and clean resource, I would advise anyone thinking about their future to take a good look at the Hydrogen sector and the opportunities that it will bring!”

Hydrogen Project Officer for Orkney and Islands Council, Adele Lidderdale highlighted the transferable skills required from the Oil and Gas sector: “Over 80% of the workforce on Orkneys Hydrogen Projects is made up from Engineers and Technicians from the Oil and Gas industry, the work is very similar, and training is also provided by the council to cover any shortfalls in skills.”

Renowned as a Global Energy Hub for over 30 years, it is clear to see that Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland are now in the midst of an economic transformation. Over £9 billion of public and private infrastructure investment is due to be delivered before 2030 and judging by the mood in the Hydrogen conference today, it’s experienced and highly skilled supply chain are laying the foundations to be ready for it.

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