NW hydrogen plant secures £2 billion backing

A plan to build a £2 billion hydrogen production and carbon capture facility close to the River Mersey has secured UK government backing.

Located at the Essar Oil UK refinery at Stanlow in Ellesmere Port, the hub will be part of the multi-billion pound HyNet consortium which will eventually supply up to 10000MW of hydrogen to industry.

Vertex Hydrogen, a joint venture between Essar Oil UK and low carbon energy firm Progressive Energy, is leading the project. It is expected that the plant will be operational by 2026..

Vertex is also progressing a second plant (HPP2) for 700MW into front-end-engineering-design. This has also received support from the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund as part of its development.

Joe Seifert, chief executive of Vertex Hydrogen, said: “The industrial revolution that led the development of the modern world, was founded and nurtured by the people and natural resources of the North West.”

“Now the same region will lead this emerging low carbon hydrogen industry as a world leader in the race to NetZero.  The news is great for the environment and great for the regional economy.”

The UK Government has made hydrogen a critical part of its push towards net zero carbon. 

HyNet’s plan is to invest in carbon capture and storage (CCS). Once captured the carbon will be piped to depleted gas fields under Liverpool Bay where it will be stored indefinitely.

Dr Annette Bramley, director, N8 Research Partnership, the collective body for the North’s eight research intensive universities, welcomed the announcement.

“For several years, the N8 has been making the case that the North is the best location from which to base the UK’s drive to Net Zero,” she said. “However, for these clusters and the wider energy strategy to succeed, it is imperative our universities’ research and innovation strengths are harnessed by the government.

“Universities across the north will bring the skills, innovation and commercialisation needed at scale to kickstart the government’s energy security strategy while supporting levelling up by creating jobs and ensuring we have workers with the skills needed to build a sustainable green economy.”

“Getting this right will support the health and wellbeing of the whole of the UK for many generations to come. We look forward to working with colleagues across the public and private sector to make that happen.”