Latest News on the UK Hydrogen Economy - 20/04/21


Ames Goldsmith Ceimig, as a manufacturer of catalysts such as Iridium Oxide, Iridium Ruthenium Oxide, Iridium Black, Platinum Black & Platinum on Carbon support, are strong supports of the emerging Hydrogen Economy and supply many manufacturers of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology including PEM Electrolysers and PEM Fuel Cells.


In the UK we are members of the UKHFCA & SHFCA. Here are some of the recent developments in Hydrogen happening in the UK and affecting the Hydrogen Economy more broadly:


‘Project Union’ set to create 2,000km hydrogen network: Weblink


On 18/03/21 the National Grid announced plans which aim to join together industrial clusters around the UK, potentially creating a 2,000km hydrogen backbone by around 2030.


This would be done by repurposing an estimated 25% of the current gas transmission pipelines and will build upon the government’s 10-point plan to invest more than £1bn ($1.39bn).


The plans, dubbed Project Union, are exploring a hydrogen backbone connecting the Grangemouth, Teesside and Humberside clusters, as well as linking up with Southampton, the North West and South Wales clusters.


Plans for European Hydrogen Backbone expanded: Weblink


Ambitious plans to create a dedicated hydrogen transport infrastructure in Europe have been expanded.

Originally unveiled in July 2020 by 11 European gas infrastructure companies from nine EU members states, the European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) report has now expanded to nearly 40,000km covering 11 new countries, with 12 European gas TSOs joining the EHB initiative.


With recent technological advancements in the field of hydrogen, the pipeline now requires lower investment costs and also now utilises two-thirds of repurposed natural gas pipelines, EHB has found.

The updated vision for the EHB proposes to build a 39,700km hydrogen network, instead of the original 23,000km, that connects 21 European countries by 2040.

£72m secured to transform the North West into a low carbon industrial cluster; hydrogen to play a key role: Weblink


One of the UK’s most advanced hydrogen and carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) projects has secured £72m to transform the North West into a low carbon industrial cluster.


On 17/03/21 HyNet North West shared news of the funding that will help accelerate a final investment decision in 2023 for the initial phase and become operational in 2025.


Funds of £33m were received from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge fund, and £39m was from consortium partner contributions.


An essential part in the UK Government’s 10-point-plan for a green industrial revolution, the project will help transition the UK to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.


Ørsted to develop large-scale renewable H2 plant in North Sea region: Weblink


SeaH2Land will link GW-scale electrolysis to the large industrial demand in the Dutch-Flemish North Sea Port cluster through an envisaged regional cross-border pipeline.


The green electricity required to produce the renewable hydrogen is proposed to come from the build-out of additional large-scale offshore wind. The major industrial companies in the region ArcelorMittal, Yara, Dow Benelux, and Zeeland Refinery, support the development of the required regional infrastructure to enable sustainably-produced steel, ammonia, ethylene, and fuels in the future, helping the Netherlands and Belgium to accelerate their carbon reductions towards 2030 and beyond.


The SeaH2Land vision includes a renewable hydrogen production facility of 1 GW by 2030 to be developed by Ørsted. If realized, the electrolyzer, which will produce the renewable hydrogen, can convert about 20% of the current hydrogen consumption in the region to renewable hydrogen.


ITM Power - Sale of 1.4MW Electrolyser to Sumitomo Corporation: Weblink


On Thursday 18th March 2021 ITM Power announced the sale of a 1.4MW electrolyser to Sumitomo Corporation. The deployment will be used as an important reference plant for further sales in Japan through our partnership with Sumitomo.


This will be the first MW scale electrolyser system ITM Power has deployed in Japan. The HGas2SP product will undergo modification to ensure hydrogen supply pressure is below 10 bar in order to comply with Japan’s High Pressure Gas Safety Act. ITM Power and Sumitomo are continuing their collaboration in the areas of business development, local compliance and after sale support to ensure a comprehensive green hydrogen offering in Japan.


UK Gov cuts support for overseas fossil sector in favour of green technologies: Weblink


Effective today (31st March), the UK Government has cut support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas as it looks to exploit new and emerging technologies such as hydrogen.


A landmark move for the country, the decision is in favour of clean energies and expedites the shift to supporting green technology, whilst creating jobs across the UK and driving growth in the industry.

First announced back in December (2020), when the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the Climate Ambition Summit, co-convened by the United Nations, the UK and France, the change has been months in the making.


Mace and AFC Energy sign UK first partnership in using hydrogen power to decarbonise construction sites: https://www.afcenergy.com/mace-and-afcenergy-sign-partnership/


AFC Energy and Mace Group have formed a UK first strategic partnership to use hydrogen power in decarbonising the construction industry.


Globally, the construction sector accounts for 38% of energy related emissions, and in London 14.5% of the most harmful emissions such as PM2.5 are from stationary diesel generators on construction sites.

Mace and AFC Energy will work together in deploying zero emission hydrogen generators to deliver a transition away from the use of highly polluting diesel generators on construction sites both in the UK and internationally. The partners aim to commission the first AFC Energy H-PowerTM systems on site in early 2022.


UK pledges to deliver 4,000 electric or hydrogen buses in £3bn ‘bus revolution’: Weblink


In the biggest shake-up of Britain’s bus network for decades, Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson on Monday (15th March) announced a major new bus strategy backed by a £3bn investment – and it includes plans for 4,000 British-built electric or hydrogen buses.


Bus Back Better sets out the vision and opportunity to deliver better bus services for passengers across England through ambitious and far-reaching reform of how services are planned and delivered.

“As we build back from the pandemic, better buses will be one of our first acts of levelling up,” the PM said in a statement.


UK’s first ever hydrogen transport hub kick-started by £3 million government investment: Weblink


The UK’s first-ever hydrogen transport hub is one step closer to becoming a reality, with the unveiling of an official ‘masterplan’ and £3 million in government funding.


A first of its kind, the transport hub – being built in Tees Valley – will bring together leading figures from government, industry and academia to focus research, testing and trials across all transport modes as we build back greener from the pandemic.


The hub could be fully operational by 2025 – helping to create up to 5,000 new jobs in the north-east over the long-term as we continue to level up the economy.


Britten Islander aircraft project switches to H2 power: Weblink


A UK initiative to develop a retrofit green propulsion system for the existing Britten-Noman BN-2 Islander fleet has dramatically switched course, abandoning a previous drive towards hybrid-electric power in favour of a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.


SHFCA member Ricardo will source the fuel cell stacks and develop the associated systems (balance of plant), and the hydrogen storage tanks will be from Innovatus Technologies who are based in Scotland. The two composite hydrogen fuel tanks will be fitted to the Islander’s wings via an existing pylon modification.

Hydrogen fuel tanks will attach to Islander wings using existing modification (image from CAeS)


Worcester Bosch and Baxi hydrogen boilers to feature in the UK’s 100% hydrogen home public demonstration: Weblink


Hydrogen boilers supplied by Worcester Bosch and Baxi Heating will play a vital role in the UK’s first 100% hydrogen home public demonstration.


Located in at Northern Gas Network’s Low Thornley site, near Gateshead, the project will offer the first glimpse into the potential home of the future where no carbon emissions are released.


Northern Gas Networks, the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and gas distribution network company Cadent are all behind the ambitious development.


The modular homes will be built by the end of March with appliances installed by the end of April.


Alongside the hydrogen boilers, prototypes of hydrogen-fuelled fires, cookers and hobs will also be installed by partners working with BEIS on the Hy4Heat project.