Carlton Power’s bid to make green hydrogen in Barrow-in-Furness wiped its nose today, as Kleenex tissue-maker Kimberly-Clark signed a supply deal, set to cut 30% from the paper manufacturer’s natural gas consumption this decade.

Softening its reliance on the carbon-heavy gas, and switching to 100% renewable energy this decade, are ambitions behind the US-owned firm’s decision. Commercial terms of the PPA (power purchase agreement) were not disclosed.

Earlier this month, Yorkshire-based Carlton confirmed plans for production on a site in Park Road, Barrow of up to 3,500 tonnes a year of hydrogen electrolysed from water with renewable electricity.

Subject to planning consent and further financing, Carlton says the £40 million plant can be pumping the low-carbon gas to industrial consumers like K-C and haulage firms as early as 2025.

Assembled by Carlton, a regional public-private consortium embracing Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, Cadent Gas, regional DNO Electricity North-West and Barrow Borough Council is behind the infrastructure proposal.

As one of Britain’s first hubs for the synthesised gas, Barrow Green Hydrogen’s implications extend beyond Park Road, embracing customers across the North and into Scotland. Kimberly-Clark is the first of a hoped-for string of energy-intensive users – including hauliers – looking to switch to hydrogen to fuel their operations.

Kimberly-Clark and Carlton Power will work together to obtain grant funding and operational financial support for the Barrow project from D-BEIS. An application is intended before December.

Last month D-BEIS published the next steps in its Hydrogen Investment Package and the opening of Strand 3 of the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund and Hydrogen Business Model.   The model is critical to ensuring both investors’ confidence and reassurance to offtakers like Kimberly-Clark on the future price of hydrogen.

Soft, strong – and very Lanarkshire

The two companies will also work together on various economic, technical, and engineering aspects of the scheme, as well as consultations with local and national stakeholders.

Known for its moisture-retaining brands including Huggies, Scott and WypAll, Kimberly-Clark in November signed a PPA which will decarbonise approximately 80% of its UK electricity supply, by virtue of funding a new 50MW wind farm to be built by Octopus Renewables Investment Trust at Cumberhead, Lanarkshire.

The new onshore farm could be generating early next year, providing power for K-C’s three factories in Cumbria and north Wales, plus distribution centres in Chorley and Northfleet.

Welcoming today’s deal, Oriol Margo, the paper-maker’s sustainability leader for Europe said; This project will reduce reliance on natural gas across our UK manufacturing facilities by up to 30%.

“It is an exciting opportunity and demonstrates how cooperation among a wide set of stakeholders from business and government is critical to making green hydrogen commercially viable.”

Eric Adams, Carlton Power’s hydrogen projects director, echoed his client: We are delighted to have entered a commercial agreement with Kimberly-Clark”.

“The development of green hydrogen projects like our Barrow hub is critical”, Adams continued, “if major energy users like Kimberly-Clark are to decarbonise their operations. At a regional level, our scheme forms part of Cumbria’s Clean Energy Strategy. It’s a catalyst to establish a hydrogen economy and drive the decarbonisation of local industry”.

Pictured, a happy nose-wiping client of Kimberly-Clark.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here