A British engineering company claims it has helped the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) save £4,000 and 7.5 tonnes of CO2 by providing access to green energy on a remote cliff-top in Scotland.

The NOC advises it wanted to use radar-based technology over a period of several months to collect data on waves and currents for a tidal energy project.  The site needed to have a reliable and continuous source of high quality electricity in order for the sensitive equipment to measure accurately, but the location – a cliff top in Pentland Firth –  meant that no mains electricity was available to provide the power. 

The team from the NOC wanted something that had the least possible environmental impact but also recognised that their options were limited due to the particularly challenging nature of a coastal location in the north of Scotland during the winter months.  The standard solution – a generator – seemed the most likely answer, though not a very ‘green’ one, and the prospect of attending the site frequently to re-fuel a generator was entirely impractical. 

Off Grid Energy advises it designs and manufactures innovative and environmentally-friendly solutions for power supply where there is no access to mains electricity. The company points out its Grid to Go is a mobile power supply which is clean, emission-free and silent – suitable for use on its own or together with a generator.  The company adds that, on its own, it is ideal for locations where a generator would be too noisy or where emissions are prohibited. When combined with a generator, instead of inefficiently running a generator 24/7, this solution means the generator is only needed for a fraction of the time with the obvious benefits in terms of fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and running hours. 

Danny Jones, Managing Director of Offgrid Energy, says: The monitoring equipment required very low power, which is no problem for the Grid to Go, but would have presented challenges to a generator on its own. Small generators aren’t designed to be left running for long periods of time and bigger sets are extremely inefficient when they have little or no work to do.  The Pentland Firth is about as far away from anywhere that you can get in the UK so the biggest challenge was refuelling.  The solution we came up with, though, meant only weekly refuelling visits were required.”

The company adds that the results show the generator running for just over 11% of the time – compared to 100% that would be required without the Grid to Go.  The fuel consumed was therefore substantially less, at 351 litres compared to 3147 litres had the generator run continuously. Combined with the savings in manpower for refuelling and the need for oil changes NOC claims it saved over £4000 in costs. In addition, CO2 emissions were reduced substantially showing a saving of about 7.5 tonnes over the alternative option of running the generator non-stop. 

Danny concludes:  “What was particularly impressive was that the level of CO2 per KW/hr was very close to the level it would be for mains electricity.  The Grid to Go stood up to the demands of the environment and performed impeccably.  It came off-hire requiring only a bit of spit and polish!”