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Equinor and SSE Thermal plan first-of-a-kind hydrogen and carbon capture projects
Equinor and SSE Thermal have unveiled plans to jointly develop two first-of-a-kind, low carbon power stations in the UK?s Humber region, comprising one of the UK?s first power stations with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, and what they claim will be the world?s first 100% hydrogen-fuelled power station. The plans will support the UK?s transition to net zero and accelerate decarbonisation of the Humber region, the UK?s largest and most carbon-intensive industrial cluster.
The two decarbonised power stations would form a ?clean power hub? near Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, and be among the first in the world to utilise CCS and hydrogen technologies. Keadby 3 and Keadby Hydrogen would replace older, carbon-intensive generation on the electricity grid, providing flexible and efficient power to support intermittent renewable generation and maintain security of supply through the net zero transition.
The projects are expected to enable the Humber region make a significant contribution to the UK?s 2030 targets for CCS and hydrogen. The 900 MW Keadby 3 power station would be fuelled by natural gas and fitted with carbon capture technology to remove the CO2 from its emissions. The captured CO2 would then be transported using shared pipelines before being securely stored under the southern North Sea. The project could come onstream by 2027 and deliver 15% of the target for 10mn tonnes of carbon captured annually by 2030, say Equinor and SSE Thermal.
Meanwhile, the Keadby Hydrogen power station would have a peak demand of 1,800 MW of hydrogen, producing zero emissions at the point of combustion. It would be the world?s first major 100% hydrogen-fired power station, securing at-scale demand for hydrogen in the region for decades to come. With appropriate policy mechanisms in place, Keadby Hydrogen could come online before the end of the decade, say the companies, and account for a third of the UK?s 5 GW hydrogen production goal.
The projects would utilise the parallel hydrogen and CO2 pipeline infrastructure being developed by the Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) partnership ? which includes Equinor and SSE Thermal ? and offshore CO2 infrastructure developed by the six-member Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), which includes Equinor, BP, Eni, National Grid, Shell and Total. Both ZCH and NEP won public funding from the UK?s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in March 2021.
Equinor?s H2H Saltend project will be the first to connect into the ZCH infrastructure and will come online by the mid-2020s. Like the additional hydrogen that would be produced for the Keadby Hydrogen project, H2H Saltend will provide low carbon hydrogen to already-identified customers.
SSE Thermal and Equinor are also developing options for hydrogen blending at SSE Thermal?s Keadby 2 project (already under construction), aiming to progressively decarbonise the UK?s newest and most-efficient power station.
Artist?s impression of Keadby Hydrogen power station
Photo: SSE Thermal