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Equinor Plans UK Project to Produce Hydrogen from Natural Gas

(P&GJ) — Norway's Equinor said it plans to build a plant in Britain that will produce hydrogen from natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage, along with pipelines to transport hydrogen for use by multiple industry and power customers.

(photo: Equinor)

The project, called Hydrogen to Humber Saltend (H2H Saltend), will be designed to reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 900,000 tonnes per year by replacing gas with hydrogen at the Saltend Chemicals Park near the city of Hull in north-east England, Equinor said.

“The world continues to need more energy at lower emissions so we can achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. This necessitates a substantial decarbonisation of industry, in which we believe carbon capture & storage and hydrogen can and must play a significant role," said Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president for marketing, midstream and processing at Equinor.

"With private and public investment and supportive UK policy, the H2H Saltend project will demonstrate the potential of these technologies. Together we can make the Humber and the UK a world-leading example that others can learn from,” Rummelhoff said.

A 16-mile (25-km) onshore pipeline will be constructed through open farmland to transport CO2 from Saltend Chemicals Park to the proposed landfall at Easington, according to project details on Equinor's website. With H2H Saltend as the kick-starter for low carbon infrastructure, hydrogen pipelines can expand across the Humber, transporting hydrogen for use by multiple industry and power customers, it said.

Companies operating at Saltend Park, a cluster of chemicals and renewable energy businesses, include BP, Associated British Ports, Centrica and Triton Power

By anchoring the low carbon infrastructure at Saltend, Equinor said, it can be extended in all directions to allow fuel switching for many customers. The transmission of hydrogen produced at Saltend will offer the potential for decarbonisation at SSE Keadby Clean Power Hub. Extending pipelines to this part of the Humber would give other customers in the area the option to connect in and fuel switch.

To switch Triton Power’s gas-fired power plant from fossil fuels to hydrogen, an Auto Thermal Reformer (ATR) of 600MW or more will need to be constructed to produce blue hydrogen. This will initially be blended at 30% or higher with natural gas in the Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems turbines at the power plant. Switching at least 30% of the natural gas to hydrogen will significantly reduce the emissions associated with power and steam production.

As demand increases, more ATRs can be built around Saltend and at appropriate industrial locations across the Humber, for example in the Immingham area, Equinor said.

A final investment decision on the project is expected in 2023 with production starting by 2026, according to Equinor.  It did not say how much the project could cost.

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