Essar secures £7.2m to build hydrogen furnace at Stanlow

Essar Oil UK has secured a £7.2m Government grant to build a hydrogen-powered furnace at its giant Liverpool city region refinery, reducing its annual CO2 emissions by 11%. Tony McDonough reports

Essar Oil UK’s Stanlow refinery on the banks of the River Mersey


Oil giant Essar Oil UK will build the UK’s first refinery-based furnace fuelled entirely by hydrogen on the banks of the Mersey after securing £7.2m for the project.

Essar operates the huge Stanlow refinery in Ellesmere Port which produces 16% of all road fuels used in the UK. The business is installing a new furnace in the crude distillation unit at the site which it says will reduce Stanlow’s CO2 emissions by 11% per year.

Now the company, which employs almost 1,000 people at the site, says it has secured a £7.2m grant from the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, made available through the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, to make the furnace project a reality.

READ MORE: Essar secures future with £600m credit facility

This is one of a number of projects designed to make Stanlow a net zero carbon site by 2040. They also include the construction of two blue hydrogen production hubs at Stanlow under the HyNet project.

These will attract £750 million in total investment and support a hydrogen economy across North West England and North Wales. HyNet’s hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) chain represents a major step forward for low carbon energy technology and innovation in the UK. 

Together with HyNet, Essar has also announced plans to create a new facility to convert non-recyclable household waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for use by airlines operating at UK airports.

The £600m project involves Essar Oil UK, Fulcrum BioEnergy and Essar’s subsidiary company Stanlow Terminals and will convert several hundred thousand tonnes of pre-processed waste, otherwise destined for incineration or landfill, into approximately 100m litres of low carbon SAF annually. 

Essar Oil UK chief operating officer, Jon Barden, said: “This year has been about beginning to execute the strategy we’ve put in place to decarbonise Stanlow and position the site as a provider of sustainable fuels for the future.

“The investment into CD4, alongside the HyNet and Fulcrum projects, demonstrates our commitment to developing low carbon operations, with the ambition of becoming a net zero site by 2040. 

“The funding from BEIS is an endorsement of the steps we’re taking, as well as a signal of the Government’s intent to transform the North West into a clean energy hub supporting jobs and economic growth for years to come.”

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