INEOS has awarded engineering group Atkins the contract to design its “world scale” low-carbon hydrogen plant at Grangemouth, as it moves to meet net zero targets.
The award will see Atkins, part of the SNC Lavalin, design a hydrogen production plant equipped with carbon-capturing capabilities at the group’s key petrochemicals site on the River Forth.
Ineos announced a tender for the plant at the start of the year, with designs to include a carbon capture-enabled hydrogen production plant, and major associated infrastructure.
Production capacity of the plant is yet to be determined, though the intention is to have the facility operational in 2030, in support of the chemicals giant’s plan to remove more than 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
It will complement a suite of other investments at the site made in recent years, including the new power plant due to come online next year.
The value of the contract was not disclosed, though an Atkins spokesperson confirmed that the majority of the work on the design would be delivered by the company’s net zero energy team based in its Glasgow office.
Local supplies of hydrogen will also benefit other assets at the complex, providing fuel for a combined heat and power plant, and feedstock for the KG Ethylene Plant and other assets in the Petroineos Refinery.
It follows the group’s commitment made last year to invest more than £1 billion to reduce the environmental impact of its Grangemouth refinery, and reach net zero by 2045.
Other work is also ongoing, including the company’s recent partnership with SGN to trial hydrogen transport via the gas grid using a decommissioned pipeline, as part of a bid to determine how existing gas networks can be repurposed for hydrogen.
However, Ineos again made clear that a “fundamental” requirement of the scheme progressing would be access to the Scottish Cluster carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure – enabling captured CO2 to be sent offshore and stored in formations below the North Sea.
Having been passed over for priority “Track 1” funding, the Cluster is understood to be a top choice for the upcoming “Track 2 process”, an update on which is due before the end of the year.
Welcoming the contract award, Net Zero & Energy Secretary Michael Matheson MSP said Ineos’ plan “clearly demonstrates how important carbon capture technology will be to the sector’s energy transformation over the coming decades and the Scottish Government will continue to press the UK Government to accelerate the Scottish Cluster’s place in its cluster sequencing process, while standing ready with our own support to help deliver this vital technology.”
Ineos’ sustainability director for Grangemouth, Colin Pritchard, added: “Atkins is a world-renowned engineering company with the skilled and experienced people to deliver this next phase in our ambitions to develop a hydrogen production hub at Grangemouth.
Mr Pritchard said construction of the plant formed a “vital component” of the group’s sustainability road map, and plans for net zero manufacturing operations at Grangemouth.
“We will displace hydrocarbon-based fuels in our processes with clean low-carbon hydrogen and establish a hydrogen hub to enable others to benefit and reduce their emissions too. Alongside our support and active involvement in the Forth Green Freeport bid and the Scottish Cluster (carbon capture and storage) project, Ineos is at the forefront of actions and investments to reduce emissions in Central Scotland,” he said.
Atkins’ market director for net zero energy, David Cole, said the group was delighted to secure the award, and added that “Hydrogen has the potential to play an important role in industrial decarbonisation: our team has global experience in the technology and we look forward to working with Ineos to bring this element of their net zero road map closer to realisation.”