Equinor to deliver world's largest at-scale hydrogen from carbon capture plant in Hull

Equinor has unveiled plans to develop the world's largest plant capable of converting natural gas to hydrogen in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCUS), as part of the zero-carbon industrial hub located in the Humber region.

Equinor is aiming to deliver a final investment decision on the plant in 2023, with production set to commence in 2026

Equinor is aiming to deliver a final investment decision on the plant in 2023, with production set to commence in 2026

Equinor has announced the first phase of its H2H Saltend project, which will be located at Saltend Chemicals Park near Hull.

The initial phase will feature a 600MW auto-thermal reformer (ATER) that will use CCUS technology to convert natural gas into “blue hydrogen”. According to Equinor, this would be the largest plant of its kind in the world.

The plan will enable industrial sector organisations located in the park to switch to hydrogen to reduce emissions. A power plant located in the chemicals park will also move to a 30% hydrogen to natural gas blend of source power. Emissions from the park are expected to be reduced by around 90,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

“The world continues to need more energy at lower emissions so we can achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. This necessitates a substantial decarbonisation of industry, in which we believe carbon capture & storage and hydrogen can and must play a significant role,” Equinor’s executive vice president for marketing, midstream and processing Irene Rummelhoff said.

“With private and public investment and supportive UK policy, the H2H Saltend project will demonstrate the potential of these technologies. Together we can make the Humber and the UK a world-leading example that others can learn from.”

Equinor is aiming to deliver a final investment decision on the plant in 2023, with production set to commence in 2026.

Zero-carbon Humber

Last year, Drax, Equinor and National Grid published a roadmap fleshing out their plans to create the world's first zero-carbon industrial hub in the Humber region by 2040. The roadmap sets out proposals to build a demonstration hydrogen production facility in the region by 2025 and install carbon capture equipment on one of the four biomass units at Drax’s power station in Selby two years later.

The project, which had its first funding phase approved last month, has now outlined plans to introduce CCUS and hydrogen production.

Two other firms involved in the projects, Phillips 66 and Uniper, recently signed an agreement to deploy a CCUS and hydrogen production facility.

As part of the Industrial Clusters Missionthe Government opened two innovation funds in October aimed at helping businesses located in key industrial clusters to plan and deploy technology to help reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Up to £140m could be accessed by successful applicants. 

Elsewhere, Equinor is working with BP, Eni, Shell and Total to spearhead the development of the Net-Zero Teesside project, which focuses heavily on the use of carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology (CCUS).

The North West Energy & Hydrogen Cluster, led by the University of Chester and Manchester Metropolitan University, will create a skills roadmap to develop the “complementary” skill sets of oil and gas works to harness new low-carbon technology such as hydrogen and carbon capture.

The Liverpool and Manchester mayors and Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) are working with the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) to develop a decarbonised cluster that could deliver 33,000 jobs and save 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

The announcement comes as Government confirms new funding pledges for green technology. As part of the Prime Minister’s recovery package and “New Deal for Britain”, up to £100m will be allocated to develop Direct Air Capture (DAC) emissions reduction technologies.

The Government is also exploring changes to current carbon pricing initiatives and will explore the feasibility of paying firms for capturing carbon.

Matt Mace



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