Major organisations have collaborated to metamorphose former ‘Megawatt Valley’ into the hydrogen heartland of the UK’s East Midlands.
The East Midlands Hydrogen partnership has been formed, set to become the UK’s ‘largest’ inland hydrogen cluster and includes: D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP); Cadent; Uniper; Toyota; Midlands Engine; East Midlands Freeport; and Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.
Due to the East Midlands Hydrogen partnership being set in the heart of the country, it will bring together hydrogen demands from around 70 industrial sites in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and northern Leicestershire regions which require more than 10TWh of hydrogen by 2040 in total to advance site decarbonisation.
Previously known as ‘MW valley’, its strategical location in relation to the river Trent, coupled with imported renewable energy could see it become a hydrogen production heartland at a GW scale, with multiple forecasts received for a total of 500MW production capacity across the region.
Will Morlidge, Chief Executive at D2N2 LEP, said, “We have the ambition, drive, energy, and the partnerships to do this at scale as we drive towards our Net Zero future. I can’t emphasise enough the scale and immediacy of opportunities across our region and I’m looking forward to working with our partners to make this happen at pace.”
The companies aim to connect supply and demand through a new 100% hydrogen pipeline network, with the East Midland region expected to become the UK’s largest inland hydrogen cluster bringing economic benefits.
A PWC report set to be published in October 2023, estimates that the development of a full hydrogen supply chain in the East Midlands would contribute £10bn ($12bn) GVA and 110,000 jobs created or retained by 2050.
Design work has begun for a dedicated sub-section of Cadent’s East Coast Hydrogen pipeline network, whilst Uniper has provided its Ratcliffe site which is in a great location for the potential of low carbon hydrogen production supply once the power station finished generating at the end of September 2024.
Tom Newman-Taylor, Chief Executive at East Midlands Freeport, said, “Backing hydrogen for industry and propulsion is the latest step to position the region as a hotbed of innovation for green energy and technology with world leading research partners at the heart of the country.
“Working with regional partners, we want to see a critical mass of hydrogen skills in the region, filling the higher technical skills gap, upskilling as well as reskilling the workforce to attract and retain high calibre talent.”
The East Midlands Hydrogen partners and its supporters will come together on September 22, 2023, at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) in Burnaston, Derby for an event to showcase the plans to realise the hydrogen opportunity in the region.
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