A breakthrough in renewable energy could see Scotland becoming one of the largest global energy exporters in the world, believes Professor of Economics Ronald MacDonald.

New technology, pioneered in Australia, enables the production of low-cost ammonia, which can easily be stored, shipped and turned into hydrogen and is becoming a key green energy source. If implemented in Scotland it could be the country’s main source of energy and create a knowledge economy.

Professor MacDonald from University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, is leading a new policy Think Tank which has identified why and how, Scotland could benefit from being an early adopter of renewable hydrogen. This would enable it to become entirely carbon neutral which could have important implications for the country supplying energy to all of Europe.

Along with reduced energy costs, improved air and water quality, other advantages include the ability for Scotland to be self-sufficient in creating enough low-cost energy to exceed the amount of oil and gas produced from the North Sea. It could lead to Scotland supplying a supergrid in partnership with a consortium of global energy majors.

If hydrogen bcame central to the national economy then remote, rural and regional areas of Scotland would be able to generate and export electricity and ammonia on a large scale. This would enable the country to significantly increase the manufacture of food products, technology and IT-based services to the scale of global corporate enterprises, and increase its exports of medicine and healthcare services, education and training services.

Professor Ronald MacDonald said: “This new technology could be a game changer for the Scottish economy in many ways, not least in moving us to a high productivity, high value economy with all that implies for the provision of well paid jobs and the provision of public services. I believe it is critically important that Scotland becomes a first mover in this new technology and its application so that it can capture the wider knowledge and finance related aspects.”

HIAlba-IDEA founded by Professor Ronald MacDonald and Dr Donald MacRae, is the first Highland Think Tank.