Norway's Equinor is aiming for a three-fold expansion in its UK low-carbon hydrogen production ambitions, with much of the hoped-for additional volumes earmarked to fuel its planned 100% hydrogen-fired power station.
The Norwegian state-controlled energy company plans to produce blue hydrogen to supply the planned Keadby Hydrogen power plant in the Humber region that it is co-developing with SSE Thermal and which it claims could be the world’s first large scale 100% hydrogen-fuelled power station.
Blue hydrogen can be produced with steam-reforming processes using fossil fuels combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Equinor is involved in several UK hydrogen projects and partnerships, which chief executive Anders Opedal described as being key to helping the country achieve its carbon emission targets.
"Without CCS and hydrogen, at scale, there is no viable path to net zero (emissions) and realising the Paris goals," Opedal said during a meeting in Oslo on Monday with UK Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and Norwegian Energy Minister Tina Bru.
"We will do so by working together with governments, partners and customers," Opedal said, adding that Equinor's UK projects will contribute to providing hydrogen and low-carbon solutions to between three and five industrial clusters by 2035.
The company's low-carbon hydrogen production plans for the UK involve tripling its output ambitions from 600 megawatts to 1.8 gigawatts, with 1.2GW being used to fuel the Keadby Hydrogen facility.
Equinor did not reveal concrete plans for the increase in blue hydrogen production.
However, a spokesperson told Upstream that the hoped-for increase is not related to the H2H Saltend project and will come from another location, which the company is currently working on to source.
The Norwegian company's UK low-carbon interests include the Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) partnership, Net Zero Teesside and the Northern Endurance Partnership.
The ZCH partnership is anchored by the H2H Saltend scheme, which aims to decarbonise a large swathe of industry in the Humber region, the UK's largest emitting industrial area.
H2H Saltend is a 600MW scheme that will produce hydrogen from natural gas via carbon capture, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from Saltend by nearly 1 million tonnes per annum, according to Equinor.
ZCH is also developing several projects that will share CO2 and hydrogen infrastructure to deliver clean energy and power to industry.
Equinor said its UK projects and the Humber partner schemes "could deliver over half of the UK's 5GW ambition by 2030".
However, the company cautioned that it needs appropriate policy mechanisms to be put in place to ensure that Keadby Hydrogen can come online before the end of this decade.
“Equinor has a strong track record of developing pioneering projects safely, working with suppliers to standardise and industrialise technology to reduce risk and drive costs down," said Opedal.
"This includes working closely together with local communities,” he added.
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