Cumbria’s first low-carbon hydrogen hub supplying fuel to energy-intensive industries and hauliers is being earmarked for an industrial estate in Barrow-in-Furness.
Infrastructure developers Carlton Power have agreed with partners Cadent, Electricity North West, Barrow Council and the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership to advance the project.
Subject to planning and financing, a 35MW plant could be pumping hydrogen at scale by 2025, assisting Cumbrian businesses to firm up their own Net Zero plans.
Renewable electricity will be fostered, too, with the plant’s tanks filled with gas made when renewable output is high, but demand is low.
The private-public collaboration is a response to the government’s plans for a green revolution, embracing hydrogen and fuel cell technology as key ambitions. In August 2021, the administration of now disgraced PM Johnson launched its Hydrogen Strategy, advancing Britain’s journey towards Net Zero.
Aiming to open the Barrow Green Hydrogen hub by 2025, Carlton regards as essential its financial support from the government’s Hydrogen Investment Package (HIP). Last month, D-BEIS revealed HIP’s next steps, opening Strand 3 of its Net Zero Hydrogen Fund and Hydrogen Business Model.
Meeting investors on 20 July, energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng introduced former Johnson Matthey executive Jane Toogood as Britain’s first “hydrogen champion.”
Whitehall sees its Hydrogen Business Model as critical in giving investors confidence, and offtakers certainty about future prices of hydrogen.
Eric Adams, Carlton Power’s director of hydrogen projects, said: “We’re delighted to be working with key regional partners to bring forward this green hydrogen facility, which will help Cumbria’s decarbonisation efforts. It supports the Clean Energy Strategy for Cumbria.”
“It is critical that projects such as this are brought forward to support investment by local companies in their infrastructure that will enable a reduction in the carbon emissions associated with their operations.”
Carlton Power and partners in the Barrow Green Hydrogen venture command expertise in energy infrastructure, industrial policy, skills and innovation.
Supplying industrial processes with electrolysed, stored hydrogen is the plant’s immediate application. Fuelling vehicles and heating homes could follow.
Since the late 1990s Carlton Power has brought forward 3.5GW of gas-fired generation and 8MW of solar. It has around 2.5GW of energy storage at various stages of development.
On Manchester’s giant Trafford Park estate, Carlton Power seeks to develop a second green hydrogen hub. It is examining other sites across Britain.
Gas distributors Cadent are actively advancing plans to substitute low-carbon hydrogen in the firm’s networks in preference to methane.
Cadent expects England’s North West to be the first to so at high volume, with high-carbon methane ousted by the mid-2020s from thousands of miles of pipes under Cumbria.
More details here.