INDIA’s Essar Group in partnership with clean energy specialist Progressive Energy will invest £750 million to build the UK’s biggest low carbon hydrogen production hub at Stanlow refinery in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
The investment in two plants, next to Essar’s Stanlow refinery, will be part of the HyNet scheme, a project to supply low carbon hydrogen to industrial sites and homes in north-west England.
The first plant will open in 2025 while the second is expected in 2027.
According to a statement, natural gas, and fuel gases from the refinery will be converted into low carbon hydrogen, with carbon dioxide captured and stored in depleted undersea gas fields 60 km offshore in Liverpool Bay.
“The project will provide Essar Oil UK with low carbon hydrogen to decarbonise its own energy demand in addition to creating a hydrogen economy across north-west England and north-east Wales,” the statement said.
“The hydrogen production hub will deliver clean energy to the industry in the HyNet ‘low carbon cluster’, as well as to fuel buses, trains, and heavy goods vehicles, to heat our homes, and to generate electricity when the sun is not shining or the wind blowing.”
The low carbon hydrogen hub will initially produce three terawatt-hours (TWh) of low carbon hydrogen each year from 2025. This will be quickly followed by a facility twice this size giving a total capacity of over 9TWh of hydrogen per annum, equivalent to the energy used for heating across the whole of Liverpool.
A joint statement said that follow on capacity growth is planned to reach 80 per cent of the government’s new target of 5GW of low carbon hydrogen for power, transport, industry and homes by 2030.
“Delivering net zero requires a transformation of our energy system. HyNet offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create real change in energy production and consumption, creating a cleaner world for future generations. It will unlock the low carbon hydrogen economy in the North West, reducing emissions and creating and safeguarding jobs,” said Chris Manson-Whitton, director at Progressive Energy.
Stein Ivar Bye, chief executive officer, Essar Oil UK, said: “HyNet and hydrogen production is integral to Stanlow’s strategy and will set it on a journey to be the UK’s first net zero emission refinery with the ambition to avoid emissions of over 2m tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per year, the equivalent of taking nearly a million cars off the road.”