Plans for a 1.35GW blue hydrogen production facility have been approved by a local council in Cheshire.
Cheshire West & Chester Council approved plans by Essar Energy Transition (EET) Hydrogen to build the UK’s first large scale, low carbon hydrogen production plant at the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
Consisting of two plants (HPP1 and HPP2), EET said the hydrogen hub will enable local industrial and power generation businesses to switch from fossil fuels to low carbon energy.
The development forms part of the HyNet industrial decarbonisation cluster.
Under the plans, up to 97 per cent of the carbon emitted from the production process will be captured and stored permanently in depleted gas fields under Liverpool Bay.
The hydrogen produced at the plant will be used locally by the Essar refinery and other major manufacturers in the region.
These will include Tata Chemicals, Encirc and Pilkington, and EET said the plans will create the first low carbon refining operations, glass and chemicals manufacturing sites in the world.
In total, EET expects the project to reduce the North West’s carbon emissions by 2.5 million tonnes every year – the equivalent of taking 1.1 million cars off the roads.
EET plans to develop the hydrogen hub in several phases with the first plant (HPP1) at 350MW capacity.
Following this, the second (HPP2) will target 1,000MW capacity with an overall target capacity of 4,000MW+ by 2030.
EET Hydrogen HPP1 project manager Richard Holden said the project is the largest low carbon hydrogen project in the UK and “one of the most advanced in the world”.
“It is a vital piece of the North West’s journey to net zero, underpinning HyNet and providing the opportunity for manufacturers in the region to decarbonise their processes and support UK jobs,” Mr Holden said.
“We have worked closely with regional stakeholders and are delighted to obtain this important approval for the project as we move from ambition to action.”
EET said construction is expected to start on HPP1 in 2024 with low carbon hydrogen produced at the site by 2027.
EET Hydrogen is a joint venture between refining giant Essar Oil UK, and hydrogen specialist Progressive Energy