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Equinor and SSE Thermal buy Triton

Tom Young, Hydrogen Economist reports


Firms will soon start preparations to convert Triton’s Saltend power station to run on blend of natural gas and hydrogen
Norwegian energy firm Equinor and UK utility SSE Thermal are buying power company Triton Power from Energy Capital Partners (ECP) for £341mn ($416mn) and starting preparations to use hydrogen in Triton’s Saltend power station on the Humber Estuary in the UK’s East Yorkshire region.

The Saltend facility is a 1.2GW gas-fired power plant situated in the Saltend Chemicals Park.

Equinor and SSE Thermal will start preparing the plant to use up to 30pc hydrogen from 2027, with an ambition to eventually increase this proportion to 100pc.

The purchase of Saltend means Equinor has a guaranteed offtaker for its H2H Saltend blue hydrogen project, which will be situated on an adjacent site.

We are particularly excited about the possibilities for hydrogen and carbon capture in Saltend,” says Catherine Raw, managing director of SSE Thermal.

Equinor has formally submitted plans for H2H Saltend for government approval. Earlier this year, it awarded pre-Feed study contracts to three selected contractors: a consortium of engineering firms KBR and Tecnimont; a consortium led by France’s Technip Energies; and industrial gases firm Linde. FID is expected in 2023.

H2H Saltend has provisional offtake agreements with other existing customers with operations in Saltend Chemicals Park, including chemicals firm Ineos, rare earth processor Pensana and renewable bioethanol fuel producer Vivergo Fuels.

The deal with ECP also includes the 140MW peaking open-cycle gas turbine at Indian Queens in Cornwall and Deeside power station, a decommissioned 528MW combined-cycle gas turbine in north Wales.

H2H Saltend is expected to kickstart the wider decarbonisation of the Humber region—a project known as Zero Carbon Humber. Humberside is by far the UK's largest regional emitter, producing over 12mn t/yr of CO₂— 50pc more than the second-largest region.

In October, the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced that the East Coast Cluster, of which Zero Carbon Humber forms a part, was one of two successful national bids in the first track of its £1bn ($1.35bn) carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition.

Building networks
Equinor foresees H2H Saltend as the first site in a network of regional hydrogen and CO₂ pipelines. A hydrogen storage project at nearby Aldbrough could enable domestic heating to switch from gas to hydrogen in towns across Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire—an option being explored with partners gas distributors Cadent and Northern Gas Networks.

SSE Thermal and Equinor are already working jointly to develop various projects in the Humber region—including Keadby 3, a planned gas-fired power station with CCS, and the Keadby hydrogen power station, which is planned to be 100pc hydrogen-fuelled.

Equinor is also evaluating a second blue hydrogen production project in the area as well as a green hydrogen production project for a later date.

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