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UK 7 GW East Coast Hydrogen network could surpass government hydrogen target alone


Connects 7 GW of hydrogen production by 2030

Links northern UK decarbonization clusters

Seen as steppingstone to gas grid conversion

The East Coast Hydrogen Consortium in the UK has the potential to connect up to 7 GW of hydrogen production by 2030, surpassing in a single region the government's target of 5 GW of low-carbon production by that date, the group said Nov. 30.

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Launching a feasibility study report, East Coast Hydrogen said it could link existing and potential hydrogen storage facilities, building on the region's two industrial clusters set to produce hydrogen and store CO2.

The group is a collaboration between Cadent, National Grid and Northern Gas Networks to connect the industrial clusters in the north of the UK – the East Coast Cluster and HyNet North West – with other supply points to distribute production across the region.

"This is the first step in the conversion of our national gas grid to hydrogen and will act as a blueprint for subsequent conversions across the UK," Northern Powerhouse Partnership Director Henri Murison said in the report.

The project aims to connect hydrogen supply with demand across multiple end uses, to transport hydrogen through repurposed and new pipelines and to build resilience through interconnections and storage facilities.

It is a 15-year program to be delivered in phases, the group said.

Pre-front end engineer design, FEED and infrastructure development will be carried out from 2022 to 2026. Phase 2, from 2024-2030 aims to connect the Humber and Teesside clusters and expand into Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

Phase 3 aims to expand from industrial clusters into Northern urban areas and the Midlands, and a final phase from 2032 sees the wider connection of the network.

The project is seen as a step towards the wider rollout of hydrogen infrastructure in the UK, such as a hydrogen "backbone" and carbon capture and storage facilities.

The National Grid-led Project Union aims to further this by repurposing 25% of the current natural gas network to transport hydrogen, creating a 2,000 km network by 2030.

The East Coast Cluster and HyNet both received government backing in October under the first round of CCS cluster sequencing for startup by the mid-2020s.

UK ETS carbon allowances traded at GBP72.36/mt Nov. 30, up from below GBP45/mt when they launched in June.

S&P Global Platts assessed the cost of producing hydrogen via alkaline electrolysis in the UK (including capex) at GBP16.21/kg ($21.60/kg) Nov. 30. PEM electrolysis production was assessed at GBP19.12/kg, while blue hydrogen production by autothermal reforming was GBP5.30/kg (including capex, CCS and carbon).