Engineering firm Atkins and sustainability firm Environmental Resources Management have been awarded major contracts, representing an important milestone in the proposed development of one of the world’s largest hydrogen storage facilities.
Atkins has been awarded the contract to conduct a feasibility study to assess the design of the hydrogen storage caverns at Aldbrough as well as the corresponding pipeline to transport hydrogen to and from the proposed new Humber Low Carbon Pipelines (HLPC) being developed as part of the Zero Carbon Humber partnership. The outcome of the assessment will provide the foundation for the next phase of scoping work as the project matures. The contract also includes the option for subsequent pre-FEED (front end engineering design) work.
ERM’s contract covers the environmental, health, safety and permitting aspects of the scheme, which are vital to developing Equinor’s future ‘Hydrogen to Humber’ (H2H) ambitions and enabling flexibility in the regional hydrogen production, usage and storage value chain.
Hydrogen storage could be pivotal in creating a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK allowing cost effective balancing of hydrogen production and supply. Hydrogen storage could support fuel switching in many sectors including flexible power generation alongside intermittent renewables, industrial use and heat. It could also support optimal production of both blue and green hydrogen production as the hydrogen economy grows, providing back-up where large proportions of energy are produced from renewable power.
The firms said the contract awards demonstrate the importance of the Humber region in the future hydrogen economy. Equinor, which operates hydrogen, carbon capture and renewables projects across Europe, has an ambition to reach 1.8GW of hydrogen production in the Humber, over a third of the Government’s UK-wide target by 2030. It recently announced plans to assess hydrogen town trials in Northern Lincolnshire, and its partnership with SSE Thermal in the Humber includes both Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage and the world’s first 100 per cent hydrogen power station at Keadby.
Equinor’s flagship H2H Saltend project, which will produce low carbon hydrogen to help decarbonise and fuel switch the Saltend Chemicals Park, currently one of the region’s most carbon intensive sites is the kick-starter project for a wider hydrogen economy in Humber. The H2H Saltend scheme will be submitted to the second phase of the Government’s ‘Cluster Sequencing Process’ later this month.
Dan Sadler, vice president of UK Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor, said: “Equinor has ambitious plans to develop a hydrogen economy in the Humber, including production, usage and storage, which will make it an international beacon for low carbon energy. We are delighted to award contracts to two leading British companies that bring real expertise in their field and can help to make this ambition a reality."
Oonagh O’Grady, head of hydrogen development at SSE Thermal, added: “We know hydrogen storage will be crucial in creating a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK, balancing production and demand and accelerating the transition to net zero. The contracts awarded to Atkins and ERM represent an important milestone in our plans for hydrogen storage at Aldbrough, which would play a major role in building a low-carbon future in the Humber.”