Plans for an office building powered by cutting edge renewable energy technology will be awarded European funding, it was announced last week.

Deputy Enterprise Minister Allan Wilson said the Hydrogen Office will receive �1.1 million as part of a package worth more than �12 million for various projects across the East of Scotland.

Developed by the Business Environment Partnership and Scottish Enterprise, the Hydrogen Office will be powered by Hydrogen Fuel Cells and will demonstrate the practical applications of this rapidly developing technology.

It will be built in Midlothian although a final decision on the intended site has not been taken.

Mr Wilson said, "This is yet another exciting round of European funding that will support cutting edge projects across the East of Scotland. The money will create jobs and provide support and facilities for several different communities. As Deputy Enterprise Minister I am often reminded of the real difference European funding can make and this latest round of funding is no different.

"The Hydrogen Office is a particularly exciting project. We are all aware that renewable energy has a vital role to play in combating climate change and ensuring a secure supply of power for generations to come. The Hydrogen Office will be a practical, working example of how renewable sources such as hydrogen can power whole buildings in an efficient, clean and environmentally friendly way."

Hyrdogen's chief benefit is that the only by product of its combustion is water. The lack of toxic emissions mean the environmental impact of hydrogen is benign.

A fuel cell is a device that uses hydrogen (or hydrogen-rich fuel) and oxygen to create electricity by an electrochemical process. Existing fuel cells can also use other fuels - for example natural gas and methanol.Fuel cells are cleaner and more efficient than traditional combustion-based engines and power plants. When pure hydrogen is used to power a fuel cell, the only by products are water and heat.

Fuel cells have the potential to replace the internal combustion engine in vehicles and provide power for stationary and portable power applications. They can be used in transportation applications, such as Fuel cells powering automobiles, buses, cycles, and other vehicles.