Essar, an Indian multinational conglomerate announced that it has set up a joint venture with Progressive Energy, a UK clean energy project developer, to produce low carbon hydrogen at its 205,000 b/d Stanlow refinery in Cheshire, UK.
The JV will produce hydrogen by processing natural gas and capturing CO2 through carbon capture and storage (CCS). The hydrogen produced at the plant will be low carbon hydrogen, which is also called ‘blue hydrogen’.
The project will invest £750 million (US$ 1.01 billion) in building two hydrogen production plants. They will be supplied with natural gas and fuel gases as feedstock from the refinery. All the CO2 emissions will be captured and stored in sub-surface reservoirs below Liverpool Bay.
Interestingly, this news comes on the same day when the French oil giant announced to develop green hydrogen facility as a part of its net-zero commitments, H2 Bulletin covered this story separately.
The low carbon hydrogen will then be supplied to the heavy industry at the HyNet North West industrial decarbonisation cluster in the region. The HyNet is developed by Progressive Energy which also received £7.5 million (US$ 10.05 million) funding from the UK government. Moreover, the excess hydrogen can also be used in fuel cell vehicles and for heating homes.
The JV claims that this project will be the UK’s first low carbon hydrogen hub and help the government achieve its goal of installing 5GW low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.
The first plant is expected to come online by 2025 and will produce 3 TWh of low carbon hydrogen annually. This would be soon followed by another plant of 6 TWh, bringing the total hydrogen capacity at the hub to around 9 TWh annually.
Essar claims that the JV can expand the capacity further in the future, which can deliver up to 80% of the UK government target of 5 GW production capacity.
The JV will employ Johnson Matthey’s Low Carbon Hydrogen (LCH™) technology, as well as SNC-Lavalin engineering services. The project is also get funded by the UK Government’s hydrogen supply competition.
It is pertinent to mention here that the HyNet cluster is based on low carbon hydrogen production from natural gas integrated with CCUS infrastructure. HyNet North West is run by various companies where Progressive Energy is responsible for developing a low carbon hydrogen production plant and the CO2 pipeline. Cadent is leading the development of the hydrogen pipeline.