Protium will explore utilising green hydrogen for industrial fuel switching with a global market-leading manufacturer based in North West England as part of a new £40m agreement.
According to the UK-based green hydrogen project developer, this is the largest currently announced green hydrogen for industrial fuel switching project of its kind within the UK.
Details of the manufacturer cannot be disclosed at this stage of the agreement, Protium said.
The study will examine the technical and economic benefits of a Hydrogen as an Energy Service (HESCO) contract, with renewable power provided alongside green hydrogen for blending with natural gas.
The project will be crucial to demonstrating the benefits of a decentralised green fuel project development model and will allow both Protium and its client to develop a robust pathway to delivering a zero emission factory using green hydrogen.
Protium will conduct the feasibility study in tandem with its strategic partners, including its equipment suppliers. It is expected that the initial results will be due Q2 2021.
The feasibility announcement comes at an interesting time both economically and politically, with hydrogen sitting centre stage in many industrial fuel switching and net zero discussions.
In its flagship 2018 report on Industrial Fuel Switching, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) noted that hydrogen has 2x the decarbonisation potential than pure electrification in the race to get UK industrial emissions to net zero.
The UK Government and the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) have repeatedly emphasised that the UK must complete multiple hydrogen fuel switching sites by 2025 to ensure there is sufficient evidence available to inform policy, with earlier reports suggesting at least 20 sites would be required.
The agreement represents a significant step forward for the manufacturing industry, with operators often relying on energy supplied solely from the grid – green hydrogen is a unique energy offering as it allows manufacturers to consume green fuels that can be produced in a decentralised manner, without waiting for a wider transformation of the UK gas grid.
The structure also provides companies with a mechanism to mitigate against the rising climate costs imposed on consumers of fossil fuels, by providing a fixed price offering over a multi-year period, that is not affected by climate taxes.