Equinor and SSE Thermal have today (8th April) unveiled plans to develop a 100% hydrogen-fuelled power station in the UK’s Humber region – and it’s believed to be a world first.
The development is just one half of a first-of-a-kind project that will also see the companies construct one of the UK’s first power stations with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
Dubbed Keadby 3 and Keadby Hydrogen, the stations will 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.
Keadby Hydrogen, the hydrogen-fuelled power station, is expected to have a peak demand of 1,800MW of hydrogen, producing zero emissions at the point of combustion. The development will 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.
Keadby 3 would be a 900MW power station 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. Keadby 3 has the potential to come online by 2027.
Underpinned by a new cooperation agreement, the plans will form a ‘clean power hub’ near Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, making the region one of the first to utilise both CCS and hydrogen.
“We’re delighted to be announcing this agreement with Equinor through which we aim to develop these first-of-a-kind low-carbon power stations. These projects would play a major role in decarbonising the UK’s flexible generation capacity, while supporting a green economic recovery in the Humber,” said Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Thermal.
“By utilising cutting-edge carbon capture and hydrogen solutions, we can decarbonise power generation, heavy industry and hard-to-reach sectors of the economy, which will be essential in both achieving net zero emissions and ensuring a just transition for workers and communities.”
“With over 12 million tonnes of annual carbon emissions, ideal transport and storage options, and major energy and industrial companies working together, the Humber has to be at the centre of the UK’s decarbonisation strategy.”
Once operational, the projects will 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).
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.
As part of the agreement announced today, 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. The companies also have the intention to collaborate on projects elsewhere in the UK.
Grete Tveit, Senior Vice-President for Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor, added, “We are very happy that Equinor and SSE are building on our long-term energy partnership to also develop low-carbon projects together in the UK.”
“These world-leading power plants at Keadby will accelerate efforts across the Humber to create a decarbonised industrial cluster and contribute to the UK’s goals for a green industrial revolution and reaching net zero.”
“They are a further step in Equinor’s ambitions for the Humber, following on from our H2H Saltend project that will start producing low-carbon hydrogen at scale by the mid-2020s. We believe these technologies are vital for heavy industry, flexible power and other hard-to-abate sectors to achieve net zero emissions, while also ensuring a just transition for industrial communities.”