MASSIVE HYDROGEN PLANT PLANNED FOR BANKS OF MERSEY IN £900M ENERGY SCHEME
– Cadent hopes thousands of jobs could be created in the region
A plant producing hydrogen gas could be built on the banks of the Mersey under a £900m investment plan to cut greenhouse gases.
Gas giant Cadent – best known for its work repairing the gas mains under the streets – wants to invest in developing a hydrogen gas network in the North West.
It says the HyNet project would help reduce environmentally-harmful emissions and could create or secure thousands of jobs over 30 years.
The ambitious scheme, the first of its scale in the UK, would see a plant built locally to extract hydrogen from methane-rich natural gas.
A location has not yet been chosen but it’s likely to be around Ellesmere Port or Runcorn where there’s lots of heavy industry.
Cadent then hopes to build a network of pipes from that plant to take hydrogen to ten of those industrial giants, including some of the region’s biggest factories, where it could be burned as fuel instead of natural gas.
The carbon dioxide waste products from the hydrogen plant would then be pumped into the gas fields under the Irish Sea so it can be stored. Cadent says the Liverpool Bay fields will soon be decommissioned but the existing rigs and pipelines could be reused for storing carbon.
Cadent says 5,000 jobs could be created by 2025 under the first phase of the plan, including the hydrogen plant and the offshore storage.
And Cadent and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram say that if the scheme helps make the North West into a centre of hydrogen technology, thousands more jobs could come in the future as companies develop ways to use hydrogen as a fuel for buses, lorries and trains.
When burned hydrogen creates just heat and water, unlike natural gas which produces carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide when burned.
The UK needs to cut down on its greenhouse gas emissions and Cadent says that switching to hydrogen and storing waste carbon would help that.
The scheme would also impact ordinary homeowners. Cadent says hydrogen could be blended with the natural gas used in homes, meaning 2m homes would see their carbon footprint cut without having to make any changes.
The scheme is ambitious – and now Cadent needs to find the money for it. It will now talk to Government, regulators and potential partners to make the vision a reality.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “The building blocks are rapidly falling into place to enable the Liverpool City Region and the North West to lead the way in finding cleaner, greener sources of energy.
“Using hydrogen to power industry and heat homes in phase one is very exciting, but this HyNet project also sets out a longer-term roadmap towards supplying hydrogen to fuel our trains and buses.
“It’s visionary, timely and just what we need.”
Simon Fairman, director of safety and network strategy at Cadent, said: “We chose the region because it is already home to 10% of the UK’s biggest industrial users of gas, as well as it having an ideal site on the doorstep to store the carbon that’s produced in making hydrogen.
“HyNet will create and secure thousands of jobs – up to 80% locally – through the design, installation, construction and operation of the new hydrogen and carbon storage infrastructure needed.
“We’ll reduce the amount of carbon that enters the atmosphere by one million tonnes every year. What’s amazing is that domestic users will simply use gas tomorrow the way they use it today, through the same appliances and pipework they have in their homes now.”