'Superfuel of the future': Government hands out £60m to cutting-edge hydrogen projects

Hydrogen produced from offshore wind, nuclear, and ammonia among initiatives to be explored across 28 projects that have today secured fresh funding

The government has today announced that cutting-edge projects to harness wind power, nuclear energy, and ammonia to produce green hydrogen are among a range of UK-based initiatives to share £60m of public funding.

The funding has been awarded to 28 hydrogen projects across England, Scotland, and Wales as part of the government’s HySupply 2 competition, which it said was aimed at positioning the UK as a “world leader” in the emerging sector while helping to create an estimated 12,000 jobs.

Successful bidders for funding include Yorkshire-based ITM Power, which has secured £9.2m to build a next-generation 5MW electrolyser stack, an industrial machine that uses electricity to separate water into its constituent parts of hydrogen and oxygen.

The company, which recently opened a major new electrolyser factory in Sheffield, said its ‘Gigastack Platform’ was designed to produce green hydrogen at a lower cost and with a smaller system footprint.

In addition, Vattanfall has been awarded £9.3m to develop the “world’s first” hydrogen-producing offshore wind farm, where the electrolyser is set to be sited directly onto an existing turbine off the coast of Aberdeen, with the low carbon fuel then piped back to shore.

Work on the pilot project has already begun, with a target to produce the first hydrogen from the offshore wind farm in 2025, according to Vattenfall.

Danielle Lane, UK country manager for Vattenfall, said placing hydrogen electrolysers on offshore wind turbines was “likely to be the quickest and cheapest way of providing fossil-free hydrogen at the scale needed to reduce emissions from heavy industries such as steel and chemicals”.

“There’s a lot of talk about hydrogen’s potential uses, but we need to urgently map out the development and delivery processes so we can quickly get to the stage where we can produce large quantities of fossil-free hydrogen cost effectively,” she said. “The HT1 project will focus on overcoming those barriers, in the real-world environment of an operational offshore wind farm.”

Other winners today include a consortium led by Gemserv which has secured £6.7m funding to design, build, and operate “the world’s largest and most efficient” ammonia to hydrogen conversion facility at Tyseley Energy Park in the West Midlands.

The project aims to address challenges surrounding the storage and transportation of hydrogen, by demonstrating how 200g a day of transport-grade hydrogen can be provided through hydrogen refuelling station existing equipped to service buses, goods vehicles and passenger cars, Gemserv said.

Cadent Gas has also been awarded just under £300,000 to support studies into the feasibility of purifying hydrogen that has been through the gas grid in order to make it suitable as a low carbon fuel for vehicles such as lorries, while Gravitricity and Arup have together secured £300,000 to explore the feasibility of storing hydrogen in purpose-built underground shafts.

And the National Nuclear Laboratory in Cumbria has scooped up almost £243,000 in government support to review a model processes that can use heat from nuclear reactors to produce hydrogen, a process sometimes known as ‘pink’ hydrogen.

As outlined in April’s Energy Security Strategy, the government is aiming to boost UK hydrogen production capacity to at least 10GW by the end of the decade, comprising both green hydrogen made from renewable energy and blue hydrogen produced using fossil fuels and carbon capture technologies.

The government said the £60m award awarded today would help to drive the UK’s nascent hydrogen industry forward by reducing costs, bringing new innovations to market, and ensuring world-leading hydrogen technologies are developed within the UK.

“The British Energy Security Strategy made clear that we are backing hydrogen not just as a viable source of clean, affordable homegrown energy but as an emerging industry of the future in which the UK can lead the world,” said Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng. . “This funding will accelerate the development of this exciting new industry, helping position us as a hydrogen superpower on the global stage.”

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