Plans for Humber hydrogen production plant take a step forward

The vision to build a hydrogen production plant in Yorkshire has taken a step forward after energy firm Equinor submitted its plans into phase two of the Government’s ‘cluster sequencing process’.

H2H Saltend is the company’s proposed flagship 600 megawatts low carbon hydrogen production plant with carbon capture, located in Saltend, to the east of Hull.

The Humber region is the most carbon intensive industrial cluster in the UK. Equinor said H2H Saltend could enable industries at Saltend Chemicals Park and the East Yorkshire area to reduce CO2 emissions by nearly one million tonnes annually, representing a 30 per cent reduction in the Saltend Chemicals Park’s total current emissions.

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The plan is backed by six prospective industrial operators - Centrica Storage, INEOS Acetyls, Pensana, Triton Power, Vital Energi and Vivergo Fuels - who have signed agreements for the development and commercialisation of the project, including potential future hydrogen supply.

Equinor has submitted its hydrogen plant plans to phase two of the Government’s process. Picture: Getty Images

The submission has been accompanied by 23 letters of support from organisations across the region.

H2H Saltend is the kick-starter project for the wider Zero Carbon Humber scheme, a UKRI-supported partnership of 12 organisations committed to making the Humber the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040.

It is also essential for Equinor’s ‘Hydrogen to Humber’ ambitions which seeks to establish at least 1.8 Gigawatts of production in the region by 2030, over one third of the Government’s UK-wide target.

In partnership with SSE Thermal, the firm is planning to develop the world’s first at-scale 100 per cent hydrogen power station at Keadby in Lincolnshire and wants to build a hydrogen storage facility at Aldbrough in East Yorkshire.

In October, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced that the East Coast Cluster, of which Zero Carbon Humber is the largest regional industrial cluster, was one of two successful national bids in phase one of its cluster sequencing process.

This allowed individual decarbonisation projects within the cluster to enter phase two. Submissions close today and a result is expected in May.

Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of Equinor, said: “H2H Saltend is an exciting ground-breaking project which will provide low carbon hydrogen to multiple industries in the Humber by 2026, and the demand for this is clear from the industrial operators’ agreements we already have in place.

“Importantly, it is also a major step to a wider hydrogen economy which can reduce emissions across several sectors, act as a catalyst for greater inward investment and economic growth, and working with our partners, also ultimately result in a Zero Carbon Humber.”