Engineering company Atkins and sustainability consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM) have bagged the deals.
It represents an “important milestone and progress” in the proposed development of one of the world’s largest hydrogen storage facilities.
The Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage project is a collaboration between Equinor and SSE Thermal that plans to store low carbon hydrogen.
It will either be within the existing natural gas storage facility or at a new hydrogen storage site adjacent to the East Yorkshire facility.
With an initial expected capacity of at least 320 Gigawatt hours (GWh), Aldbrough could be operational by early 2028.
Atkins has been awarded the contract to conduct a feasibility study to assess the design of the hydrogen storage caverns, as well as the corresponding pipeline to transport hydrogen to and from the proposed new Humber Low Carbon Pipelines (HLPC), being developed as part of the Zero Carbon Humber partnership.
The outcome of the assessment will provide the foundation for the next phase of scoping work as the project matures. The contract also includes the option for subsequent pre- front end engineering design work.
ERM’s contract covers the environmental, health, safety and permitting aspects of the scheme, which are vital to developing Equinor’s future ‘Hydrogen to Humber’ (H2H) ambitions.
Storage will allow the UK to cost effectively balance hydrogen production and supply.
The fuel will allow many sectors to decarbonise, including flexible power generation alongside intermittent renewables, industrial use and heat.
Oonagh O’Grady, head of hydrogen development at SSE Thermal, said: “We know hydrogen storage will be crucial in creating a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK, balancing production and demand and accelerating the transition to net zero. The contracts awarded to Atkins and ERM represent an important milestone in our plans for hydrogen storage at Aldbrough, which would play a major role in building a low-carbon future in the Humber.”
Equinor, which operate hydrogen, carbon capture and renewables projects across Europe, has an ambition to reach 1.8 gigawatts of hydrogen production in the Humber by 2030.
It recently announced plans to assess hydrogen town trials in Northern Lincolnshire, and its partnership with SSE Thermal in the Humber includes both Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage and the world’s first 100% hydrogen power station at Keadby.
Equinor is also progressing its flagship H2H Saltend project, which will produce low carbon hydrogen to help decarbonise and fuel switch the Saltend Chemicals Park.
The scheme will be submitted to the second phase of the Government’s ‘Cluster Sequencing Process’ later this month.
Dan Sadler, vice president of UK low carbon solutions at Equinor, said: “Equinor has ambitious plans to develop a hydrogen economy in the Humber, including production, usage and storage, which will make it an international beacon for low carbon energy. We are delighted to award contracts to two leading British companies that bring real expertise in their field and can help to make this ambition a reality.”