Protium, a UK-based green hydrogen project developer, has signed a green hydrogen feasibility agreement in North West England with a unspecified global manufacturer. Details cannot be disclosed at this stage of the agreement. This forms part of a series of fuel-switching projects that Protium is leading on across the UK.
Protium will work with the manufacturer to explore utilising green hydrogen for industrial fuel switching, as well as analysing other energy efficiency savings that can be achieved on-site so as to significantly reduce its CO2 emissions. Protium claims it will be the largest green hydrogen for industrial fuel switching project of its kind within the UK, with a capex value of more than £40 million.
The study will examine the technical and economic benefits of a Hydrogen as an Energy Service (HESCO) contract, with renewable power provided alongside green hydrogen for blending with natural gas. The project will be crucial to demonstrating the benefits of a decentralised green fuel project development model and will allow both Protium and its client to develop a robust pathway to delivering a zero-emissions factory using green hydrogen. Protium will conduct the feasibility study in tandem with its strategic partners, including its equipment suppliers. It is expected that the initial results will be due Q2 2021.
In its 2018 report on Industrial Fuel Switching, Beis noted that hydrogen has 2x the decarbonisation potential than pure electrification in the race to get UK industrial emissions to net zero. The government and the Committee on Climate Change have repeatedly emphasised that the UK must complete multiple hydrogen fuel switching sites by 2025 to ensure there is sufficient evidence available to inform policy, with earlier reports suggesting at least 20 sites would be required.
Decentralised and fixed price
Most manufacturers rely on energy supplied solely from the grid, green hydrogen allows them to consume green fuels that can be produced in a decentralised manner, without waiting for a wider transformation of the UK gas grid. The structure also provides companies with a mechanism to mitigate against the rising climate costs imposed on consumers of fossil fuels, by providing a fixed price offering over a multi-year period, that is not affected by climate taxes.
The agreement comes closely after Protium last week announced signing a Heads of Terms with ZeroAvia, a US-based innovator and leader of decarbonising commercial aviation. It allows Protium to work closely with ZeroAvia to develop and expand green hydrogen infrastructure across the UK and for the aviation market more broadly.