Major milestones reached at British hydrogen projects in maritime and chemicals sectors

Image: Freeport East

The Freeport East project, which is developing green hydrogen storage and propulsion technologies for high-powered workboats, announced earlier this week that it has received a £1.44m grant funding package from Innovate UK. A “similar” but undisclosed sum has also been contributed by Australia’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water

This funding will support the development and adoption of green hydrogen refuelling and storage technologies at ports in Harwich, Essex, and Felixstowe, Suffolk. These technologies will serve tugs, workboats and vessels associated with the offshore wind sector. A similar sister project is taking place in Australia.

Organisations involved in the scheme, called HyZEM, include hydrogen propulsion innovators Steamology, marine propulsion firm Duodrive Limited, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the National Composites Centre and naval architect Chartwell Marine Limited – the latter of which is contributing expertise on vessel efficiency.

ORE Catapult’s project engineer Joseph Hewitt said: “Demonstrating the potential of innovative technologies such as hydrogen-storage and hydrogen-fuelled turbines to decarbonise the world’s marine fleet could pave the way for future cost savings and risk reduction benefits for the entire industry, minimising environmental impact and moving us closer to achieving our net zero ambitions.”

Saltend Chemicals Park

In other green hydrogen news, East Riding of Yorkshire Council has granted approval for the construction of a 100MW production facility at the Saltend Chemicals Park in Hull.

Meld Energy will develop the facility, which will create the capacity to meet up to 30% of the park’s existing hydrogen demand. At Saltend, hydrogen is already used as an ingredient for manufacturing fuels and products. It is also used to power transportation.

Meld Energy’s green hydrogen is set to reduce the park’s annual CO2 emissions footprint by 125,0000 tonnes, as it will enable a reduction in the use of fossil-based hydrogen.

Heavy industry in the Humber region accounts for more than 5% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions footprint. It is the nation’s highest-emitting industrial region.

The incumbent UK Government has an ambition for the UK to host 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. At least half of this capacity should be attributable to green hydrogen. The remainder will be accounted for by hydrogen produced from natural gas with carbon capture and storage, which meets government standards on lifecycle emissions. This is known as ‘blue’ hydrogen.

Meld Energy has applied for its Saltend project to access funding from round two of the government’s Hydrogen Production Business Model. Funding allocations will be confirmed later this year.

Saltend Chemicals Park’s operator, px Group, is also collaborating with Equinor on a 600MW blue hydrogen project. This project would provide hydrogen to enable fuel switching at the Park’s onsite gas-fired power station.

Comments (2)

  1. Rob Heap says:

    There should be no delays in realising projects like Freeport East & Saltend Chemicals Park green hydrogen and rolling out more of the same, ASAP.

  2. David Dundas says:

    It needs to be made clear where the energy comes from for each of these projects to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. If it is from grid electricity, as this is only partly green, so the hydrogen cannot be termed “green” perhaps “blue”. If the energy is directly from a renewable source such as the windfarms that workboats service, then it can be called “green”

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