European energy companies SSE Thermal and Equinor have partnered to address the lack of infrastructure for hydrogen production, storage, and transportation, a situation that is hindering the accelerated adoption of the energy resource.
The two companies are planning to develop what they claim will be the world’s largest low-carbon hydrogen facility. The storage plant will be established at an existing facility Aidbrough Gas Storage plant in East Yorkshire.
The existing gas storage facility was commissioned in 2011 and comprises nine underground salt taverns. Upgrading the facility for the storage of low-carbon hydrogen is expected to be complete by 2028 and will increase the storage capacity to 320GWh.
The site is ideally located to store the low-carbon hydrogen set to be produced and used in the Humber region, as the production of blue and green hydrogen in offshore sites is expected to increase over the coming years as the race to decarbonisation amplifies.
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Hydrogen storage will be vital in creating a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK and balancing the overall energy system by providing backup where large proportions of energy are produced from renewable power.
Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Thermal, said: “By delivering large-scale hydrogen storage capacity, we can utilise hydrogen to decarbonise vital power generation, as well as heavy industry, heat, transport, and other hard-to-reach sectors, safeguarding and creating crucial jobs and investment across the region.”
Grete Tveit, Senior Vice President for Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor, adds: “Hydrogen will be crucial for the UK to reach its net-zero ambition. That’s why we are pleased to be working together with SSE Thermal on developing plans to store low-carbon hydrogen at the Aldbrough site, bringing us and our partners in Zero Carbon Humber closer to our joint ambition to support the Humber region to become the UK’s first net-zero carbon cluster. Projects such as these are critical for efforts to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement and contributing to the UK’s goals to become a world leader in low carbon.”
The two companies will use the facility to expand their operations within the hydrogen industry with Equinor planning to develop 1.8GW of blue hydrogen production in the region. SSE Thermal and Equinor will also construct the Keadby Hydrogen Power station, the world’s first 100% hydrogen-powered power plant before 2030 in the region.
The proposed 320 GWh storage and production facilities will not only supply businesses of Equinor and SSE Thermal but unlock the potential for green hydrogen and supplying an expanding offtaker market including heat, industry and transport from the late 2020s onwards.