Equinor, Centrica, and SSE Thermal Launch Hydrogen Projects on Humber’s North Bank
05.28.2024 By Tank Terminals - NEWS

May 28, 2024 [Storage Terminals Magazine]- Leading energy companies Equinor, Centrica, and SSE Thermal have unveiled plans for a series of low-carbon hydrogen projects on the north bank of the Humber. These initiatives will integrate with broader regional strategies to establish a robust hydrogen economy.

 

The announcement, made yesterday at the Houses of Parliament, detailed the transformation of the Easington gas terminal. The event was attended by MPs, civil servants, industry bodies, and regional stakeholders. Key speakers included energy minister Lord Callanan, Beverley & Holderness MP Graham Stuart, and representatives from Equinor, Centrica Energy Storage, and SSE Thermal.

The H2H Easington project, led by Equinor and Centrica, aims to develop a multi-stage green and blue hydrogen production facility. This project will scale up as the hydrogen economy grows, with engineering studies indicating potential production capacities of up to 1.2GW of blue hydrogen and 1GW of green hydrogen. Initial projects are slated for commissioning by the end of the decade, with further expansion planned through the 2030s.

A proposal for a green hydrogen electrolyser has been submitted to the government’s second Hydrogen Allocation Round. If approved, this system could be operational by early 2029, significantly reducing the Easington terminal’s CO2 emissions by 100,000 tonnes per year by displacing natural gas demand. The project also includes plans to produce hydrogen for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), supporting the aviation sector’s energy transition.

The hydrogen projects are expected to safeguard existing jobs at the historic gas terminal and create new employment opportunities. The 35-year economic impact of the green hydrogen initiatives at Easington is estimated to add £1.5 billion in gross value, supporting thousands of regional jobs.

The collaboration also envisions a dedicated hydrogen pipeline linking H2H Easington to Equinor’s proposed H2H Saltend hydrogen production facility at Saltend Chemicals Park and to Equinor and SSE Thermal’s proposed hydrogen storage facility at Aldbrough. These projects collectively form the Humber Hydrogen Hub.

Equinor and SSE Thermal are currently consulting on the hydrogen storage proposals at the existing gas storage site near Aldbrough. Utilising the underground salt caverns for storage will help balance the future hydrogen economy’s supply and demand, enhancing energy security.

The 45km hydrogen pipeline proposals include a crossing of the River Humber, providing connectivity between the north and south banks and potential linkage to the ‘Project Union’ gas network, expanding hydrogen infrastructure across the wider Humber region.

The launch event was attended by decision-makers from various government departments, including Energy Security & Net Zero, Business & Trade, and Transport. Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young MP and regional representatives, including MPs Graham Stuart and Martin Vickers, also participated.

MP Graham Stuart highlighted the projects’ potential to deliver on the UK’s net zero goals and hydrogen targets while supporting the government’s levelling up agenda. He expressed pride in having such strategic energy sites in his constituency, attracting investment and creating local jobs.

Dan Sadler, director for Hydrogen at Equinor’s UK Low Carbon Solutions, emphasised the commitment to decarbonising the Humber by linking hydrogen production with users and storage sites. This collaboration aims to reduce emissions and stimulate economic growth.

Martin Scargill, managing director of Centrica Energy Storage, noted the projects’ benefits for the Humber and their role in supporting the UK’s decarbonisation plans. John Johnson, director of development at SSE Thermal, highlighted the potential of hydrogen projects to deliver a low-carbon future for the Humber and accelerate the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure.

 

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