INOVYN has joined the North West Hydrogen Alliance (NWHA), an association aiming to put the North West of England at the forefront of the UK’s hydrogen journey.

The chemical company has been producing hydrogen at its Runcorn Site for more than one hundred years as a co-product of the chlor-alkali process.

Working with fellow NWHA member Cadent, and other project partners – Atkins, BOC, Costain, Peel Environment, Shell and the University of Chester – INOVYN recently received government funding to advance a possible 100MW power-to-gas energy storage facility at the Runcorn Site.

The project, dubbed Project Centurion, will explore how energy storage can produce low carbon hydrogen for heat, decarbonisation of industry and transport fuels as well as contributing towards energy security.

Richard Stevenson, INOVYN’s Storage Projects Manager, said, “Hydrogen energy could be transformational for the North West and INOVYN is delighted to be working alongside other Alliance members to drive this forward. The Alliance is making a strong case for hydrogen in the region, shining a spotlight on the wide variety of initiatives taking place.”

“Hydrogen production, supply and use has been happening in the North West for many years, so we’re ideally placed to drive innovation in the sector.”

Professor Joseph Howe, Chair of the NWHA and Executive Director of the Thornton Energy Institute, added, “INOVYN are at the forefront of hydrogen innovation in the region and their knowledge, expertise and influence will be a real asset to our work.”

“2019 is set to be a pivotal year for the development of the hydrogen economy with the North West set to play a key part. Welcoming INOVYN to the Alliance underpins just how big an opportunity this is and how important it is for the region to collaborate in driving hydrogen forward. There are hydrogen projects happening right now in the North West which could be game-changers in the journey to a low-carbon future.”

North West hydrogen projects

Hydrogen could play a role in decarbonising the UK’s energy systems and meeting Climate Change obligations, as well as driving regional economic growth.

Studies show the development of a major hydrogen cluster could deliver £17bn in gross value added for the North West, creating nearly 6,000 jobs and saving one million tonnes of CO2 every year.

In addition to Project Centurion, other key projects taking place in 2019 include Cadent’s HyNet programme. Based on the production of hydrogen from natural gas, it’s a ‘first of its kind’ and this hydrogen could be used in industry, homes and transport across the North West.

Carbon dioxide produced from this process, and from other industry in the region, would be captured and transported to soon-to-be depleted gas reservoirs in the East Irish sea for storage.

Cadent has also been given the green light for the first live trial of blended hydrogen and natural gas for domestic gas customers in the North of England through the HyDeploy programme. If successful, the trials would build support for a much wider roll out including via HyNet.

The UK Government has committed £20m as part of the Clean Growth Strategy to investigate the development of low cost, low carbon hydrogen for industry, buildings and transport and help create hundreds of clean industry jobs.

The Hydrogen Supply Competition will provide businesses with funding to develop hydrogen solutions so that the technology can become a competitive, clean energy supply of the future. With applications closing at the end of last year, successful bidders are expected to be announced imminently.

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