UK blue hydrogen capacity to rise with Equinor expansion
LONDON (ICIS)–Equinor plans on tripling its UK blue hydrogen production capacity to 1.8GW by the end of the decade in order to supply the planned 900MW Keadby Hydrogen power plant, the Norwegian state-owned energy company said on Monday.
The expansion marks a substantial jump to projected UK blue and green capacity, with just six projects now making up 5.6GW of production capacity, based on ICIS calculations.
The new plans will take Equinor’s total expected hydrogen production at the UK’s Humberside industrial region from 0.6GW to 1.8GW.
Equinor said that the additional 1.2GW of production is expected to primarily fuel the Keadby Hydrogen power station, which Equinor is developing alongside SSE.
The Keadby Hydrogen power plant is expected to have a 900MW capacity, with potential completion within this decade.
The Keadby Hydrogen plant is expected to account for one third of the UK’s 5GW hydrogen production goal, and with an expected peak hydrogen demand of 1800MW.
At present, Equinor’s own 600MW H2H Saltend project is likely to be a potential source for the facility, although SSE told ICIS prior to the capacity expansion that other production facilities will be needed.
RAMP-UP IN UK CAPACITY
Equinor’s announcement puts its production capacity among the highest in the UK by 2030, matching initial capacity potential of HyNet in the northwest.
UK blue hydrogen capacity is also expected to increase following confirmation that the Acorn project at St Fergus is expected to reach 800MW by early 2030, project coordinator Pale Blue Dot told ICIS on Tuesday.
A total of just six hydrogen projects in the UK now make up a potential 5.6GW of production capacity by the early 2030s. The majority of this capacity is for blue hydrogen, split largely between HyNet, H2H Saltend, Acorn and H2Teesside, making a combined 5.4GW of capacity.
On Tuesday, Acorn project partners Storegga, Shell and Harbour Energy also announced the appointment of Shell as technical director for the Acorn carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.
The remaining 0.2GW comes from the Gigastack project and the Dolphyn project, both green hydrogen projects in early research phases.
UK GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENTS
The announcement came alongside a meeting between the UK secretary of state Kwasi Kwarteng and the Norwegian minister for energy and petroleum Tina Bru. Both the UK and Norway announced that they are close to completing a bilateral treaty on electricity interconnection, which comes just a week after the successful completion of the North Sea Link interconnector.
One of the main benefits of hydrogen in relation to renewable production is that it can be generated using excess renewable energy at periods of high output. Hydrogen can capture the excess power and store it, ready for use during periods of lower renewable production.
Elsewhere, the second UK hydrogen supply competition opened for applications on 25 June. Up to £60m will be competitively awarded to projects that can help develop low-carbon hydrogen solutions. Jake Stones and Chetan Patel
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