North West hydrogen economy moves forward: HyNet project awarded £800,000

North West hydrogen economy moves forward: HyNet project awarded £800,000

HyNet – a hydrogen energy and carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) project aiming to reduce carbon emissions from industry, homes and transport, as well as support economic growth in the North West of England – has been awarded £800,000 by the UK Government.

Allocated by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), a £500,000 award has been made to a consortium comprising of Johnson Matthey, as technical provider, SNC-Lavalin, as project delivery specialists, and led by project developer Progressive Energy.

The project comprises the development and deployment of a hydrogen production facility utilising Johnson Matthey’s high efficiency Low Carbon Hydrogen process located at Essar’s refinery at Stanlow.

This first plant alone will deliver 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide reductions per annum by displacing around 2% of the UK’s industrial demand for natural gas.

In addition to the £500,000, a further £300,000 award had been made to a consortium comprising of Progressive Energy and several major industrial gas users in the North West.

The project comprises the conversion to hydrogen of several major industrial plants, including boilers, kilns, furnaces and heaters.

These will be supplied with low carbon hydrogen by pipelines from the production plant being developed at Stanlow.

Progressive Energy is currently leading the development of bids into the next phases of both the Hydrogen Supply and Industrial Fuel Switching Competitions.

From these it hopes to secure up to a further £15m to undertake Front-End Engineering Design studies and demonstrations to delivering a ‘shovel ready’ project for investment.

As recently recognised by the Committee on Climate Change, low carbon hydrogen has a vital role to play in meeting the UK’s ‘Net Zero’ commitments.

With an appropriate policy framework, HyNet could be producing and distributing low carbon hydrogen in 2024.

The wider HyNet ‘cluster’ includes supply of hydrogen both for flexible power generation to complement intermittent renewables such as wind and solar and to reduce the carbon footprint for households in the North West.

It also plays a vital role in delivering the government’s Clean Growth Strategy, safeguarding existing industry and attracting inward investment into the region and the UK more widely.

The impact of spend on HyNet and associated inward investment suggests that more than 5,000 jobs would be created between now and first operation, with thousands more to follow as more plants and pipelines come online. These two funding awards take these potential benefits a step closer to realisation.

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