India’s Essar Group led by billionaire Prashant Ruia has announced plans to set up a huge hydrogen production hub at the Stanlow manufacturing complex in the UK.

The company said in a statement that “it has formed Vertex Hydrogen (Limited), a transformative new joint venture, with Progressive Energy, to build the UK’s largest hydrogen hub”.

“Led by Essar as the majority shareholder, Vertex Hydrogen has been formed to provide the catalyst for the development of a hydrogen economy across North West England and North Wales, as a central part of the HyNet decarbonisation cluster,” it said.

A total investment of about “£1 billion ($1.34 billion) will be committed to delivering the hydrogen production hub”.

“The hydrogen produced will, in the first instance, be utilised by Essar to reduce its carbon footprint at the Stanlow manufacturing complex,” it added.

The Indian player said the “initiative is a core part of a wider strategy by Essar globally to focus on investing in energy transition through the transformation of existing portfolio companies, and investments in new ventures”.

“Providing low carbon hydrogen across North West England and North Wales, the UK’s first low carbon hydrogen facility at Essar Stanlow will sit at the heart of the HyNet low carbon cluster, to produce a total of 1GW per year of hydrogen, across two units, from 2026.”

Essar noted that waste fuel gases from Essar Stanlow, and natural gas, will be converted by Vertex Hydrogen into hydrogen, with carbon dioxide safely captured and stored by HyNet partner Eni, underground offshore in Liverpool Bay.

The hydrogen production hub will provide low carbon energy to replace fossil fuels in the industry across the HyNet region, as well as heating homes, and fueling buses, trains and trucks, it added.

In addition, Vertex will also provide low carbon hydrogen to a wide range of businesses, including companies from the chemicals, ceramics, paper, glass and flexible power generation sectors, it noted.

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