Energy project scoops top environmental award

Rhona McLeod, Broadcaster; Dr Peter Neilson, Glenmorangie (Partnership Scotland Sponsor); Paul Condy, Scottish Salmon; Iona Hodge, Local Energy Scotland; David Macleod, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar; Gillian Wilson, Community Energy Scotland; Dr Daniel Aklil, Pure Energy Centre; Bob Downes, Chair of SEPA and head of VIBES judging panel

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A project encouraging collaborative solutions to waste management and creating energy won the Partnership Scotland Award at this year’s VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards.

The Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub (OHLEH) project with partners the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC), Pure Energy Centre (PEC), Community Energy Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar beat off stiff competition to win the award which recognises organisations working together to improve their contribution to sustainable development.

The first of its kind in Scotland, the OHLEH project involves the transfer of fish waste from SSC’s processing plant along with other waste to be broken down to produce bio-gas at a comhairle recycling centre.

This bio-gas is then used to generate electricity that drives an electrolyser provided by PEC which produces green hydrogen and oxygen that is used at SSC’s hatchery and provides fuel for the council’s hydrogen-powered bin lorry.

Craig Anderson, chief executive of SSC, said: ‘Winning the VIBES Partnership Scotland Award not only recognises the commitment and expertise of the OHLEH project partners, but also is a great example of local collaboration which could act as a blueprint for national best practice, not just by the salmon farming industry but across many other sectors.’

David Macleod, head of municipal services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: ‘This is an excellent achievement by all the partners, coming together to deliver a circular economy project using groundbreaking technology. This further demonstrates that it is possible for us to build a sustainable hydrogen economy in the Western Isles.’

Elizabeth Johnson MBE, business development manager at PEC and director of Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, added: ‘Winning the VIBES award shows there is strong commitment and an outstanding collaboration from all of the partners, which also includes Local Energy Scotland as a co-funder of the project.’

Now in its 20th year, the VIBES recognise Scottish businesses which showcase best practice and take significant steps to improve or reduce their impact on the environment.

The awards encourage the efficient use of resources, strive to improve environmental performance and support sustainable development including social benefits through involvement with the local community.