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£13 million awarded to sustainability projects in the North East of Scotland

£13 million awarded to sustainability projects in the North East of Scotland
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“Given that around 45% of people in the North-East live in rural areas, the potential of HydroGlen to accelerate the decarbonisation of rural energy and transport is large. The Just Transition Hub will be an open and inclusive facility which will work with a range of partners on creating new products, new jobs and encourage investment. These are tremendous examples of our action-based science and will create real impact for our society. My thanks to the Scottish Government for this award and for their continued trust in our science”

Scientists at James Hutton Institute, the independent research organisation, have been awarded over £13million from the Scottish Government’s Just Transition fund to establish two pioneering action-based research science projects in the North East of Scotland.

HydroGlen and the Just Transition Hub will focus on providing sustainable solutions to Scotland’s future food, environmental and water security concerns.

HydroGlen is a green hydrogen-powered farming community pilot based at the Institute’s research farm at Glensaugh in Aberdeenshire. Through the development of renewable-generated electricity, HydroGlen will support the energy needs of both the farm and its community of seven associated households.

It will provide a scalable and replicable concept for farming and other rural communities to demonstrate how to become self-reliant, net-zero carbon energy producers and exporters. HydroGlen will demonstrate how 100% of the community’s electricity, heating and transport fuel energy requirements can be self-generated renewably.

The Just Transition Hub is a state-of-the-art facility which will be based at the Institute’s campus in Aberdeen. This will see collaboration with a range of stakeholders to develop nature-based, net-zero solutions for issues such as community renewable energy development, flood management, sustainable groundwater access, biodiversity enhancement and peatland restoration.

A new building will combine virtual and physical space, which will act as an incubator for ‘spin out’ companies drawing on the Institute’s science to develop new products and services. It will also offer in-person and on-line scientific, institutional and business events and a public café. 

The Just Transition Hub is expected to create over 200 jobs and bring in £1.6m annually to the regional economy.

Speaking of the funding, Professor Colin Campbell, CEO of the Institute said: “Given that around 45% of people in the North-East live in rural areas, the potential of HydroGlen to accelerate the decarbonisation of rural energy and transport is large. The Just Transition Hub will be an open and inclusive facility which will work with a range of partners on creating new products, new jobs and encourage investment. These are tremendous examples of our action-based science and will create real impact for our society. My thanks to the Scottish Government for this award and for their continued trust in our science.”

Professor Alison Hester, Leader of the Institute’s Climate-Positive Farming Initiative at Glensaughand who led the HydroGlen bid said:“HydroGlen being selected for funding is a big step forward for green hydrogen innovation in Scotland and beyond. In our changing climate, where the frequency of storms such as Storm Arwen left some rural North East communities without power for many days; the successful development of HydroGlen as a key research and demonstration facility will offer much needed innovative and practical energy solutions for the region and beyond.” 

Professor Lee-Ann Sutherland, Director of the International Land Use Study Centre, who led the Just Transition Innovation Hub bid, said: “This is wonderful news. We expect the Just Transition Hub to become the ‘go to’ place for net zero research and innovation, not only in the North East but in the whole of Scotland. It will be a place where stakeholders and collaborators from across the world can work with us on providing evidenced-based scientific solutions to the critical challenges that lie ahead for our food and environmental security.”

HydroGlen will submit planning permission imminently, with construction expected to commence in 2024. The Just Transitions Hub will see a feasibility study in 2022 and planning permission for the new build will be submitted in 2023 with construction predicted to begin in 2025.

Notes to Editors

The Scottish Government’s Just Transition fund is a £500 million ten-year commitment that will support projects in the North East and Moray which contribute towards the region’s transition to net zero.

On-farm green hydrogen systems like HydroGlen could cut on-farm emissions by at least 10% just by displacing diesel. There are around 8,450 farms based in the North East of Scotland, employing 23,000 people directly and considerably more upstream and downstream from the sector, giving considerable potential to contribute to Scotland’s net-zero targets and a new business market.

Press and media enquiries: 

Lisa Donnelly, lisa@clarkcommunications.co.uk 07711 476772


Printed from /news/%C2%A313-million-awarded-sustainability-projects-north-east-scotland-0 on 08/12/22 11:46:12 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.