A consortium comprising Progressive Energy, Essar, Johnson Matthey, and SNC Lavalin has been awarded £7.5M of Government funding to undertake a ‘FEED’ study in relation to a hydrogen production plant, which uses Johnson Matthey’s proprietary technology to produce low carbon hydrogen from natural gas.
To be located at Stanlow Refinery, the ultimate project may include up to 3 plants, producing up to 18TWh per year of low carbon hydrogen. The team has started work with the goal of being ‘shovel-ready’, with all the engineering completed and ready to start construction, by spring 2021.
Industrial Fuel Switching to Hydrogen
A consortium comprising Progressive Energy, Unilever, Pilkington, and Essar has been awarded £5.3M of Government funding to undertake detailed design and practical demonstration of the conversion of three sites from natural gas to hydrogen. Once the demonstrations are complete in spring 2021, these sites, and a range of others using very similar boilers, furnaces or gas turbines will have sufficient confidence to fully convert to low carbon hydrogen once it becomes available in bulk from the HyNet project.
Progressive Energy, working closely with Cadent, is currently engaged on work, funded under the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA), to further develop the design of the HyNet hydrogen distribution network, and, equally importantly, develop its operating philosophy. The integration of the network with storage sites is particularly important, as this gives the necessary level of flexibility to the operation of the system, allowing it to meet heat demand and future demand for flexible power generation.
Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage
A HyNet consortium comprising Cadent, Progressive Energy, CF Fertilisers, Essar, Peel and the University of Chester was awarded grant funding in 2019 under the UK Government’s CCUS Innovation Funding. This 12-month project to undertake what is known as ‘pre-FEED’ engineering is now coming towards its conclusion. The study has developed engineering solutions for all parts of the system, and, most importantly, has looked at how the system operates in an integrated way – this is a process called ‘Flow Assurance’ and involves complex numerical modelling of the whole end-to-end system. This programme of work will conclude in March 2020 with a report that provides far greater granularity on the system cost and how it will operate. At that point, we will seek to launch the next phase of work, called ‘FEED’, which will last two years and take the project to a Final Investment Decision (FID).
Hydrogen Blending to Homes
HyNet is currently building evidence for the safe and straightforward delivery of blended hydrogen and natural gas to over 2 million customer homes in the HyNet area. The UK’s first project to trial a blend of hydrogen (up to 20% vol.) and natural gas was approved by the Health & Safety Executive and started operating in January 2020. A second, larger project, comprising two demonstration areas has also received funding and is currently under development. The results of these projects and other research will be used to inform HyNet.
Many companies in the hydrogen / CCUS sector, including Progressive Energy and Cadent, have been actively involved in working with Government to help develop a policy framework. Through a group called the CCUS Advisory Group (CAG), business models for all aspects of the CCUS value chain were developed and formed the basis for Government’s consultation. The consultation closed in October 2019, and we expect Government to make further announcements on policy in spring 2020.
Much of this work is being undertaken from funds being made available by Government as part of their commitment to decarbonisation. This became even more important in 2019 with the UK Government’s legislative adoption of a ‘Net Zero’ target by 2050. This requires all aspects of our economy to fundamentally change and HyNet provides an excellent basis for transforming many of the ‘hard to reach’ sectors of our economy.