Green light for UK’s first large-scale hydrogen production plant

Essar Group’s EET Hydrogen, formerly Vertex Hydrogen, has received approval from Cheshire West and Chester Council to build a low-carbon hydrogen plant HPP1 at the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, UK.

Illustration; Archive; Courtesy of EET Hydrogen

The plant, located at the heart of the HyNet industrial decarbonization cluster, is expected to be the nation’s first large-scale, low-carbon hydrogen production plant, and according to EET, it will produce some 350 MW of hydrogen from 2026.

HPP1 completed FEED in September 2021 and was selected by the government in March 2023 as one of two initial large low-carbon hydrogen plants in the UK.

EET said that combined with the company’s HPP2 plant, the hydrogen hub will enable local industrial and power generation businesses to switch from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy, helping to reduce the North West’s carbon emissions by 2.5 million tons every year.

“This is a vital piece of the North West’s journey to net zero, underpinning HyNet and providing the opportunity for manufacturers in the region to decarbonize their processes,” EET stated.

“We’ve already got a number of major manufacturers in the region signed up to fuel switch to hydrogen including the Essar Oil (UK) Limited refinery and among others Tata Chemicals Europe, Encirc and Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, creating the first low carbon refining operations, glass and chemicals manufacturing sites in the world.”

To note, the HPP2, at up to 1000 MW capacity, is expected to be one of the largest in the world and is estimated to produce some 230,000 tons of low-carbon hydrogen every year for local industrial and power generation customers.

In September 2023, U.S. engineering company KBR was awarded a blue hydrogen process technology and front-end engineering design (FEED) contract by EET for the HPP2 facility at HyNet.

The HyNet project includes hydrogen production and supply, as well as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) to support the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors in a region of concentrated conventional energy usage.

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