Joint venture to build world’s first hydrogen power plant in UK

Norwegian energy firm Equinor and Scottish utility company SSE have agreed to develop the world’s first 100% hydrogen-fuelled power plant in Britain.

Keadby Hydrogen plant would have a peak demand of 1,800 megawatt (MW) of hydrogen, generating around 900 MW of electricity and reduce emissions from Britain’s most carbon-intensive industrial cluster in Humber, north-east England, the companies said.

“With appropriate policy mechanisms in place, Keadby Hydrogen could come online before the end of the decade,” they added.

In addition, Equinor and SSE plan to build a 900 MW natural gas-fired power plant at Keadby, fitted with carbon capture technology to reduce emissions.

The carbon dioxide (CO2) released when natural gas is burned will be captured and permanently stored under the seabed in the Southern North Sea.

The Keadby 3 plant could potentially start by 2027, with Equinor and SSE planning to submit a development consent application this spring, the companies said.

Equinor is also involved in a project to produce hydrogen from natural gas at Saltend Chemicals Park near Hull, while also capturing and permanently storing associated CO2.

The project, called H2H Saltend, could supply low-carbon hydrogen to the Keadby Hydrogen power plant, Equinor said.

Hydrogen is seen as a potential replacement for natural gas in power and heat generation, helping to achieve global climate goals, and the UK is seeking to position itself as a market leader for hydrogen projects.

Last month UK Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan hailed plans for the country’s largest blue hydrogen production facility, targeting 1GW of hydrogen production by 2030.

BP announced the launch of the project which, when completed, would capture and send for storage up to two million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) per year, equivalent to capturing the emissions from the heating of one million UK households.

Under the scheme with a final investment decision (FID) in early 2024, facility, which will be based in Teesside in northern England, could begin production in 2027 or earlier. BP has begun a feasibility study into the project to explore technologies that could capture up to 98% of carbon emissions from the hydrogen production process.

The energy firm said the development, H2Teesside, would be “a significant step in developing ‎bp’s hydrogen business and make a major contribution to the UK Government’s target of developing 5GW of hydrogen production by 2030. “

Trevelyan said: “Driving the growth of low carbon hydrogen is a key part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and our Energy White Paper and can play an important part in helping us end our contribution to climate change by 2050.

“Clean hydrogen has huge potential to help us fully decarbonise across the UK and it is great to see BP exploring its full potential on Teesside.”