Energy infrastructure innovators Carlton Power have inked a deal with groceries colossus Kraft Heinz to develop the food firm’s first ever green hydrogen supply at its production complex at Kitt Green, Wigan.
Canning a quarter of a million tonnes of ketchups, baked beans and preserves every year and employing 850 people, Kitt Green is one of Europe’s biggest food processing plants, producing a plethora of household staples.
Carlton’s proposed 20MW on-site green hydrogen unit is designed to replace at least 50% of the plant’s current use of natural gas. Cutting the plant’s carbon emissions by 16,000 tonnes annually, the replacement fuel source will be electrolysed from water, using electricity generated primarily from wind and solar.
Kitt Green is the fifth green hydrogen project which Carlton Power is taking forward in England. Its forerunners include Kimberly-Clark’s Cumbrian paper factory, and a major supply scheme approved for the Trafford Industrial park.
Eric Adams, the company’s hydrogen projects director, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Kraft Heinz at Kitt Green to help the company speed up its efforts to decarbonise their operations. It is critical that projects like this are brought forward to support British companies, especially in manufacturing, in reducing their carbon emissions and reaching Net Zero.”
Kraft Heinz’s president for northern Europe Jojo Lins De Noronha responded: “Our agreement with Carlton Power is an important step forward in our efforts to achieve our global goal of a 50 percent cut in emissions by 2030.
“We’re excited to partner together to develop our first, renewable hydrogen energy project globally and hope to see more projects like these in the future.”
Funding and planning approval remain hurdles to be overcome, if the £40m decarbonising unit is to begin production as planned in 2026.
The partners need support from the second Hydrogen Allocation Round (HAR2) of the government’s Hydrogen Production Business Model (HPBM), launched to support industry’s switch to the green gas and grow the hydrogen economy. HAR2 opened for applications in December.
In coming months, the two companies will apply to DESNZ for grant support, informed by consultations with local and national stakeholders. They will be working over the next 18 months to secure planning permission.
Local civic figures enthused over the initiative. Wigan’s MP Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for international development, said:
“Transitioning to net zero is essential to protect local jobs and defend the environment. It is a sign of confidence in Wigan that Heinz has identified Kitt Green as the first site for investment“.
Councillor Tom Ross, Greater Manchester’s lead for the Green City-Region: “The authority is making great strides towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2038, but we need everyone pulling in the same direction.
“That’s why it’s great to see Kraft Heinz and Carlton Power collaborating to drive forward our path to net zero, making Wigan home to Kraft Heinz’s first ever green hydrogen-powered plant“, Ross went on.
“This represents a long-term investment in green jobs right here in our city-region, and a major boost for establishing a hydrogen economy in Greater Manchester.”