Image: NWHA

Peel Ports Group, the UK’s second largest port operator, has become the newest member of the North West Hydrogen Alliance (NWHA).

The firm, which administers the Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal, has identified hydrogen as a critical component of its efforts to reduce environmental impact and achieve net zero aspirations. It is investigating the possibility of hydrogen being utilized as an alternative fuel source for heavy plant equipment and sees the Port of Liverpool as a crucial location for hydrogen as a shipping fuel testing.

Peel Ports’ North West assets are strategically located to benefit from the world’s largest hydrogen and carbon capture project, HyNet North West, with the Port of Liverpool potentially becoming a hydrogen distribution center.

HyNet North West was recently selected by the Government as one of two ‘Track One’ projects in the UK’s cluster sequencing competition for Carbon Capture, Usage, and Storage (CCUS).

Martin Olverson, Mersey Sales Director at Peel Ports Group said:

“As one of the largest port groups in the UK, we understand our responsibility to continuously minimise environmental impacts and see a clear role for hydrogen in the future. We are supportive of the development of strong hydrogen infrastructure, as well as other alternative fuels and associated technology in the North West, and see the Mersey as being a gateway to a low carbon economy. We are pleased to be joining the North West Hydrogen Alliance and making sure the North West has an ambitious programme in this area; opening up opportunities for Peel Ports and our customers to have good access to hydrogen and other low carbon solutions” 

Professor Joe Howe, Chair of the NWHA and Executive Director, Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester, said:

“There is huge potential for hydrogen to contribute to the decarbonisation of the marine sector. While historically Government has focused on air quality impacts from road vehicles as the main source of pollution, other emitters, including shipping and ports are now being asked to play a larger part in delivering clean air for all. Once again, the North West is leading the way on this agenda and we’re delighted to welcome Peel Ports to the Alliance where working together we can drive decarbonisation across a number of sectors.”

The NWHA unites over 30 of the UK’s most powerful organizations committed to advancing the development of a hydrogen economy – a critical component of reaching net zero emissions in the region during the ongoing COP26 climate change discussions in Glasgow.

The organization recently responded to the Government’s consultations on Hydrogen Business Models, the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, and a Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard for the United Kingdom. While the NWHA has expressed broad agreement for the Government’s initiatives as a positive first step, it has advocated for additional efforts to develop hydrogen over the next decade.

The NWHA supports the approach to business models and believes it will stimulate hydrogen production, but has urged the Government to give greater consideration to the suitability of business models for different production methods, the incentives for small scale hydrogen production, and demand side policy intervention to encourage fuel switching.

Concerning the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, the NWHA supports the notion of giving CAPEX support, but believes it falls short of covering all key aspects of the hydrogen value chain. The NWHA supports the notion that this financing should be directed toward production but should allow for certain small-scale storage and distribution required for production initiatives, arguing that more investment will be required to support the remainder of the value chain.

The NWHA also supports the Government’s planned Hydrogen Standard, but believes that the rules should be strengthened gradually to encourage cleaner production methods once the market has had time to adjust.

Nedim Husomanovic

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