Backers of the UK’s leading HyNet cluster for industrial decarbonisation were celebrating today, after council planners approved plans for its first blue hydrogen plants, to be based at oil company Essar’s Ellesmere Port refinery in Cheshire.
Developer EET Hydrogen has secured the go-ahead to develop high volume ‘scrubbing’ of oil and gas processed at the area’s Stanlow Manufacturing Complex, yielding in time up to 2.5 million tonnes of the gas for industrial clients near the site.
Besides running devices and processes on a low carbon basis for Essar’s complex, firms such as Tata Chemicals, Encirc and glassmakers Pilkington will benefit, switching to the low carbon fuel and benefitting from electricity generated on-site with the gas.
Selected by government as Britain’s biggest pioneering development cluster for steam-cleaned hydrogen, the HyNet cluster’s first elements are set to some into commercial operation by the late 2020s.
Among them will be EET Hydrogen’s two plants, to be built in sequence. Construction on the first first begins this year. It will have an initial capacity of 350MW, followed by the second’s at 1GW. Upgrades will lift capacity from both to scale up beyond 4GW into the 2030s. The first clean gas is expected in 2027.
Hydrogen stripped from the refinery’s hydrocarbons will enable local industrial and power generation businesses to switch to the low carbon input, used either as an energy source or as a feedstock.
Developers estimate this will help reduce the North West’s regional emissions of carbon by 2.5 million tonnes every year – the equivalent of taking 1.1 million cars off the roads.
Cheshire West & Chester Council approved EET’s groundbreaking plans this week. The company’s business plan envisages unlock billions of pounds of related investment and job creation.
Richard Holden, project manager at EET Hydrogen, said, “This is the largest low carbon hydrogen project in the UK and one of the most advanced in the world. It is a vital piece of the North West’s journey to net zero, underpinning HyNet and providing the opportunity for manufacturers in the region to decarbonise their processes and support UK jobs.
“We have worked closely with regional stakeholders and are delighted to obtain this important approval for the project as we move from ambition to action.”
EET Hydrogen positions itself as a leading player in the UK energy transition. and is developing HyNet, Britain’s first large scale, low carbon hydrogen production hub.
HyNet’s target of nearly 4GW of hydrogen by 2030 represents 40% of the UK government’s target for the gas.