A touch of green in Winter

Winterwatch took a big step towards a green future in live TV this week, with their live broadcast on 26th January running entirely on hydrogen and battery power.

Working off-grid is common in our industry and usually relies on fuel hungry diesel generators. This year the Winterwatch team has taken the initiative to step away from fossil fuel energy in a bid to reduce the climate impact of their productions.

Winterwatch 2021 presenters left to right: Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams, Gillian Burke – Photographer: Jo Charlesworth

In what is believed to be a first for outdoor TV broadcast, the whole production at the OB hub and the live presenter locations was run on hydrogen and battery power!

Hydrogen fuel cells work by combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The hydrogen reacts with oxygen across an electrochemical cell (similar to a battery) to produce electricity with 0 emissions.

Hydrogen power is fast becoming a key component in the growing fight for green energy, but it hasn’t been without it’s setbacks. One of the primary arguments against hydrogen generated electricity is that it requires energy to produce the hydrogen in the first place and often this energy can come from fossil fuels such as coal.

However, it is becoming more and more common for the production of hydrogen to be generated using the excess power produced by solar farms, wind farms and other green energy sources. The other key consideration to make here is that currently, the only viable alternative to hydrogen is diesel. Not only is diesel itself a horrific atmospheric pollutant, but it requires far more energy to source than hydrogen does to produce (being drilled, refined, and transported half way around the world).

Ultimately, using hydrogen now is paving the way for a future where all energy is from renewable sources and the Winterwatch team has done a fantastic job at demonstrating the viability of this technology in todays broadcasting infrastructure!

You can read more about the hydrogen powered Winterwatch broadcast on the BBC blog here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, suggestions for ways to make production even greener, and tips for those who would like to follow in the footsteps of Winterwatch, so please either comment below or sign up and head on over to our forum for a more in-depth discussion.