Norwegian powerco Equinor this morning confirmed a bid application for its second blue hydrogen plant in England’s Humberside energy cluster. Its target is 1.2GW of H2 capacity by 2028.
The state-owned company has teamed up with Sheffield University’s centre for advanced manufacturing, entering a £16.4 million bid to the government’s £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.
Half the bid sum would be provided by private backers. Public money granted from the Net Zero hydrogen fund managed by UKR&I will embolden the former, and ease a final investment decision planned, according to Equinor, for 2025.
If built, the resulting second H2 plant will double the capacity of the Norwegians’ H2H Saltend project in Hull, subject of a bid entered earlier this year. Together the two plants could make up 18% of Britain’s 10GW of hydrogen capacity this decade, a target doubled in this year’s Energy Security Strategy.
Blue hydrogen is formed by treating pressurised methane with steam. The method is controversial due to its higher carbon leakage compared to hydrogen’s green variant, electrolysed from water with low carbon electricity.
Both technologies are in their infancy, but blue H2 benefits from the fossil fuel industry’s existing transport infrastructure of refineries, pipelines and pumps.
Equinor maintains that one or both of its Saltend facilities might be extended to accommodate production of green H2.
Dan Sadler, the company’s vice-president for UK low-carbon solution, commented: “This co-funded bid helps to maintain and unlock private investment in low carbon hydrogen projects in the Humber. It will underpin the creation of a world-first hydrogen economy in an end-to-end value chain.
This scheme will position the UK at the forefront of the race to a hydrogen economy helping transition major local industries towards greener technologies whilst creating opportunities for both local and national businesses.”
Hull’s Saltend Chemicals Park next to the Humber is home to Triton Power’s gas-fired 1.2GW CHP station. Besides electricity for the grid, the CHP station provides power and steam to the park’s tenants.