Equinor advances its low-carbon hydrogen project with major FEED contract in place

Norwegian energy giant Equinor has selected units of German engineering company Linde for front-end engineering design (FEED) work and operation and maintenance of its large-scale low-carbon hydrogen plant in the UK.

Saltend Chemicals Park. Courtesy of Equinor

Equinor’s UK project, named Hydrogen to Humber Saltend (H2H Saltend), is a 600-megawatt low-carbon hydrogen production plant with carbon capture.

Announced in 2020, the project is described as the first of its kind and scale and aims to help establish the Humber as an international hub for low-carbon hydrogen.

On 30 January 2023, Equnior said it has awarded the FEED contract to Linde Engineering and the operation and maintenance service contract to BOC.

Linde Engineering together with BOC, both Linde companies, participated in a design competition to provide proposals for FEED with options for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and operation and maintenance for the first five years (subject to the EPC option being exercised).

Saltend Chemicals Park. Courtesy of Equinor

As explained, the plant will be operated and maintained by BOC while its design will use Linde Engineering’s hydrogen and air separation technologies, which will be combined with UK-based Johnson Matthey’s LCH™ technology.

Scheduled to be operational by 2027 and located at Saltend Chemicals Park, to the east of Hull, the H2H Saltend is expected to help to reduce the park’s emissions by up to one-third.

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To achieve this, low-carbon hydrogen will directly replace natural gas in several industrial facilities reducing the carbon intensity of their products, as well as being blended into natural gas at the Equinor and SSE Thermal’s on-site Saltend Power Station. The amount of CO2 stored will be around 890,000 tonnes per year equivalent to taking about 500,000 cars off the road annually.

At the same time, H2H Saltend is the kick-starter project for the wider Zero Carbon Humber scheme, which will provide regional infrastructure from Easington to Drax. The infrastructure will transport hydrogen to industrial customers seeking to reduce their emissions whilst also capturing CO2 for safe subsea storage as part of the East Coast Cluster. These proposals aim to make the Humber net-zero by 2040.

The project also forms part of Equinor’s wider ‘Hydrogen to Humber’ ambition to deliver 1.8 gigawatts of low-carbon hydrogen production within the region, nearly 20% of the UK’s national target.

Asbjørn Haugsgjerd, Equinor’s Project Director for the H2H Saltend project, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Linde, who have demonstrated their expertise and commitment throughout the rigorous selection process over the last year and through their previous work with this technology and operations.

“H2H Saltend is a vital first step in creating a low carbon hydrogen economy and achieving net zero in the Humber, safeguarding local industries and creating greater opportunities, whilst helping the UK to tackle climate change. With Linde Engineering, BOC and Johnson Matthey on board we are even better positioned to deliver this vision.”