A new £1bn hydrogen production hub will be built on the banks of the River Mersey as oil giant Essar Oil (UK) announces a new joint venture. Tony McDonough reports
Mersey petroleum giant Essar Oil (UK) has formed a new £1bn joint venture to build the largest hydrogen production hub in the UK.
EOUK, which provides almost a fifth of the UK’s road fuel from its huge refinery at Stanlow on the banks of the River Mersey, will play a central role in the Hynet project which will supply low-carbon hydrogen to industries across the North West.
Now it has formed Vertex Hydrogen with Progressive Energy to build the UK’s largest hydrogen hub at Stanlow close to Ellesmere Port. The initiative is a core part of a wider strategy by Essar globally to focus on investing in energy transition.
Its hydrogen facility at Essar Stanlow will sit at the heart of the HyNet low carbon cluster, to produce a total of 1GW per year of hydrogen, across two units, from 2026. This is equivalent to the domestic heating energy used by a city the size of Liverpool.
Waste fuel gases from Essar Stanlow, and natural gas, will be converted by Vertex Hydrogen into hydrogen, with carbon dioxide safely captured and stored by HyNet partner Eni SpA, underground offshore in Liverpool Bay.
The hydrogen production hub will provide low carbon energy to replace fossil fuels in industry across the HyNet region, as well as heating homes, and fuelling buses, trains and trucks. A total investment of approximately £1bn will be committed to the project.
Hydrogen produced will, in the first instance, be utilised by Essar to reduce its carbon footprint at the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex. In addition, Vertex will also provide low carbon hydrogen to a wide range of businesses. These will include companies such as Tata Chemicals Europe, Encirc, InterGen, Solvay, Ingevity, Novelis, Glass Futures and Saica Paper – all having expressed interest already.
Prashant Ruia, Essar chairman, said: “Essar is massively committed to investing in energy transition and is building a portfolio of companies in this space. Vertex Hydrogen is a central component of that vision, which will be instrumental in helping create a hydrogen future for North West England and North East Wales.
“This will see more than £1bn of investment, thereby creating jobs and supporting local communities for decades to come.”
Chris Manson-Whitton, director at Progressive Energy, added: “As the founding developer of HyNet, we see the launch of Vertex Hydrogen as a key milestone. Vertex is central to unlocking the low carbon hydrogen economy, reducing emissions, creating a cleaner world for future generations whilst creating and safeguarding jobs.”