Equinor has submitted a bid for UK government funding of about £16 million ($20 million) to kick-start a second blue hydrogen production facility in the heavily industrialised Humber region on the east coast of England.

Equinor could take a final investment decision on the Hydrogen to Humber (H2H) Production 2 project in 2025 if all goes to plans, with operations beginning by 2028, the Norwegian state-controlled company said on Wednesday.

Equinor has teamed up with the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) on the project, which is aiming to produce 1.2 gigawatts of blue hydrogen, produced from natural gas.

The partners are seeking to access the UK government’s Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, although 50% of the bid would be privately funded.

In combination with Equninor’s flagship 600-megawatt H2H Saltend project planned for the north bank of the Humber Estuary, the two projects could help deliver 18% of the UK government’s target of 10 GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

Equinor’s vice president for UK low carbon solutions Dan Sadler said: “This co-funded bid helps to maintain and unlock private investment in low carbon hydrogen projects in the Humber.

“It will underpin the creation of a world-first hydrogen economy in an end-to-end value chain. This scheme will position the UK at the forefront of the race to a hydrogen economy helping transition major local industries towards greener technologies whilst creating opportunities for both local and national businesses."

Further investment will be needed to take the project to the final investment decision.