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Back to Press Releases 09 July 2024

ESB launches new hydrogen power demonstration to showcase first deployment of hydrogen to electricity in Ireland

  • Demonstration hydrogen fuel cell being hosted at ESB’s head office in Dublin this week 
  • Produced by GeoPura, a UK-based renewable energy company, and their partner Siemens Energy
  • Part of a larger investment by ESB in a green hydrogen project being developed at its Aghada Power Station in Co Cork 

Tuesday, 9th July 2024 

ESB has launched new hydrogen power generation demonstration fuel cells to showcase what is the first deployment of hydrogen to electricity in Ireland. A demonstration of this unit is being hosted this week at ESB’s head office on Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2.

The units are produced by GeoPura, a UK-based renewable energy company, and their partner, Siemens Energy. This type of hydrogen power unit can support the network by using fuel cell technology, converting hydrogen to electricity, to supply up to 250kW of clean power when required – with the only by-product being pure water.

In a net zero world where Ireland has large volumes of renewables, converting renewable energy into green hydrogen, and storing it for use in periods when the sun is not shining and wind is not blowing, will be extremely beneficial. The deployment of electrolysers (electricity to hydrogen) and fuel cells (hydrogen to electricity) enable this conversion process.    

The deployment of the fuel cells is the first phase of a demonstration-scale green hydrogen lighthouse project. The second phase will involve the deployment of an electrolyser at ESB’s Aghada Power Station in Co Cork – the overall project will be completed in 2025.

On completion, ESB will be able to demonstrate the conversion of electricity to hydrogen and hydrogen to electricity. This will also enable demonstrations of the role green hydrogen can play in reducing Ireland’s emissions, particularly from hard-to-abate industrial processes and certain transport applications such as heavy goods vehicles and aviation.

Jim Dollard, ESB Executive Director, Generation and Trading, commented: “We know that to reach net zero in the timeframe that we have set out other sources of clean energy will be required to support the electricity system here in Ireland. At ESB, we believe green hydrogen will be one of those sources and I am really excited to be here today to see first-hand how the hydrogen power units we will deploy as part of our wider Lighthouse Project will work. We would like to thank our partner, GeoPura, for their innovative work on this project. ESB will use this technology to build capability and understanding of the role green hydrogen will play in the net zero energy system of the future. This will be an important energy source for backup dispatchable electricity generation at times when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.”   

Alistair Gemmell, Chief Business Development Officer at GeoPura, praised ESB for their leadership in Ireland's transition to a zero-carbon future, commenting: "We’re thrilled to partner with ESB on this groundbreaking project, marking a significant step towards a zero-carbon future for Ireland. By showing that green hydrogen can replace fossil fuels for power generation across various sectors, ESB is leading the way in reducing climate-damaging emissions and improving local air quality, generating clean, reliable energy to deliver a more sustainable and resilient energy system. This ambitious Lighthouse Project not only protects our planet but also our health, setting a strong example for others to follow and we look forward to continuing to support ESB to implement its hydrogen strategy and reduce emissions in Ireland."

This type of unit has already supplied energy for large-scale events including festivals and television productions and replaced diesel generators in some construction settings. 

ESB is planning a series of demonstrations of the units at locations across the country in late 2024 and early 2025 to showcase the versatility of hydrogen fuel cell technology in different applications.

This project supports Ireland’s National Hydrogen Strategy which identifies hydrogen’s key role in decarbonising hard-to-abate parts of the economy and enhancing energy security. Green hydrogen is produced from renewable electricity – specifically hydro, wind or solar.