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Hydrogen and carbon capture projects planned for Humberside

Humberside, said to be the UK?s largest and most carbon-intensive industrial region has taken the first steps towards decarbonisation with at least three consortia of energy companies studying projects to produce hydrogen and capture, transport and store carbon dioxide (CO2) produced in the region. 

First, the Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) Partnership has submitted a proposal to create a low carbon cluster in the Humber as a step to creating what would be the world?s first net zero industrial cluster, by 2040. The partnership comprises Associated British Ports, British Steel, Centrica, Drax, Equinor, Mitsubishi Power, National Grid, PX Group, SSE Thermal, Saltend Cogeneration Company, Uniper and the University of Sheffield?s Advanced Manufacturing Centre.

The bid for Phase Two funding from the government?s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, builds on a successful application for Phase One funding earlier this year.

It centres around two elements, the first being the Equinor-led H2H Saltend (Hydrogen to Humber Saltend) hydrogen project at Saltend Chemicals Park near the city of Hull. H2H Saltend will be the largest plant of its kind in the world to convert natural gas to hydrogen, combining a 600 MW autothermal reformer with carbon capture. 

The second element is the hydrogen and CO2 pipeline network developed by National Grid Ventures that aims to link H2H Saltend to other industrial sites in the Humber region, enabling them in turn to fuel switch to hydrogen or capture their emissions. These sites include Drax Power station, SSE Thermal?s Keadby site, Uniper?s Killingholme site and British Steel at Scunthorpe.

Emissions of CO2 from H2H Saltend and the other Humber sites would be transported by pipeline to Easington on the Yorkshire coast and then offshore to permanent storage under the southern North Sea on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). A consortium of energy companies is working to develop the offshore transport and storage infrastructure, and this network will be shared with the Teesside industrial cluster, where Equinor is also a partner in the Net Zero Teesside (NZT) decarbonisation project.

The ZCH proposal is costed at ?75mn, comprising private and public funding. The initial funds will be used to progress work towards a final investment decision during 2023, says Equinor, for completion in 2026.

Meanwhile, bp, Eni, Equinor, National Grid, Shell and Total have formed a partnership, the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), to develop offshore CO2 transport and storage infrastructure in the UK North Sea, with bp as operator. This infrastructure will serve the proposed NZT and ZCH projects.

If successful, NEP linked to NZT and ZCH will allow decarbonisation of nearly 50% of the UK?s industrial emissions, says the consortium. NEP has submitted a bid for funding through Phase 2 of the government?s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, part of the ?4.7bn Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. 

The application follows the approval by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) of the addition of bp and Equinor alongside National Grid to the Endurance carbon storage licence. This affirms the strategic importance of the Endurance reservoir as the most mature large-scale saline aquifer for CO2 storage in the UKCS, says the NEP. 

Moving across to the west coast of England, the OGA has also awarded a CO2 appraisal and storage licence (CS licence) to Eni UK, to cover an area located within the Liverpool Bay area of the East Irish Sea. Under the licence, Eni plans to repurpose depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs (the Hamilton, Hamilton North and Lennox fields) and associated infrastructure to permanently store CO2 captured in North West England and North Wales from existing industries and future hydrogen production sites for fuel switching, heating, power and transportation.

News Item details

Journal title: Energy World

Countries: UK -

Subjects: Carbon capture, transportation and storage Hydrogen

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