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DEVELOPMENTSITES


TheHumbergoes blue T


EQUINOR PROJECT KICK-STARTS A BLUE TRANSITION IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND. SETH O’FARRELL REPORTS


heHumber, an industrial area in the north of England, is poised to spearhead the UK’s green transition. With streams


of capital investment flooding in, Equinor and a raft of other companies, including Drax, British Steel and Mitsubishi Power, plan to transformone of the biggest carbon-emitting zones into a zero-carbon cluster. Equinor’s project H2H Saltend is the first


step to launch such an ambitious enterprise. It looks to switch the fuel supply to the Saltend Chemicals Park fromfossil fuels to low-carbon hydrogen. At present, the park produces mil- lions of tonnes of petrochemicals per year for products such as clothing, paint, pharmaceuti- cals and packaging. The Norwegian company estimates that by upgrading to hydrogen at scale, it can reduce carbon emissions from Saltend Chemicals Park by nearly 900,000 tonnes per year.


Blue transition Central to this transition is the construction of an autothermal reformer (ATR) of 600MW, which will produce ‘blue’ hydrogen—hydro- gen produced fromnatural gas—for the exist- ing gas-fired power station. Across the site, industrial consumers will be able to share in this new blue infrastructure. Excess carbon dioxide from the production


of hydrogen is set to be captured and trans- ported via a pipeline to Easington (a town on the tip of the estuary), where it can then be taken offshore to be stored under the seabed. These storage facilities are part of a broader partnership between BP, Eni, Equinor, National Grid, Shell and Total, called the Northern Endurance Partnership, which sup- ports a similar net-zero project further along the coast in Teesside. As the UK’s largest industrial cluster, the


Humber is responsible for more than one-third of theemissions fromthe country’s six largest industrial clusters. With the end goal of trans- forming the area into net zero emitter, H2H Saltend’s focus on blue hydrogen and carbon capture and storage is thought to be the tip of a zero-carbon iceberg. Henrik Andersen, Equinor’s vice president of


low-carbon solutions, says that there is a “suite of potential projects” set to be in operation by themid2020s, such as Drax’s plans to install carbon-capture technology to create theworld’s first carbon-negative power station by 2027.


Unique position Unlike other heavy industrial areaswhich tend to be further inland, such as those in Germany,


February/March 2021 www.fDiIntelligence.com Cleaning up: Saltend Chemicals Park is due an upgrade to low-carbon hydrogen


theHumber is unique. It is botha diverse and relatively dense industrial cluster with local expertise, but also its position on theNorthSea means its hydrogen transition can also be pow- ered by offshore wind—or ‘green’ hydrogen. “We believe that this is a very good area to


grow green hydrogen businesses,” Mr Andersen adds, alluding to both the offshore wind infrastructure and the nearby salt cav- erns which can be used to store hydrogen. Richard Kendall, executive director at the


Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), points out that there is a lot of excitement for the H2HSaltend project and zero-carbon clus- ter more broadly, thanks to the success of off- shore wind in the area. “I think the wider impact [of the zero-car-


bon cluster plan] on our community is a repeat of what we’ve seen with wind, where it has really captured the public’s imagina- tion,” Mr Kendall says. “The key test at the end of all of this is going to be how much of this massive capital investment translates into local jobs and supply chain opportuni- ties that are sustainable.” ■


15 PROJECTPROFILE


SALTENDCHEMICALS PARK


Location East Riding of Yorkshire


Area 25km


Initial investment £75m


GLOBALOUTLOOK


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