Image: SSE

SSE Thermal and Equinor are planning to build one of the world’s largest hydrogen storage facilities at their Aldbrough location in East Yorkshire.

As early as 2028, the plant might be storing low-carbon hydrogen.

SSE Thermal and Equinor jointly own the present Aldbrough Gas Storage complex, which was commissioned in 2011. It consists of nine underground salt caverns, each around the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Converting the existing caverns or building new ones specifically for hydrogen storage would entail converting the existing caverns.

Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage, with an initial capacity of at least 320GWh, would be much greater than any other hydrogen storage facility in operation today. Aldbrough is an attractive location for storing low-carbon hydrogen that will be generated and utilized in the Humber region.

Hydrogen storage will be critical in establishing a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK and balancing the overall energy system by providing backup in areas where big amounts of energy are generated by renewable energy. As growing amounts of hydrogen are generated from offshore wind energy, dubbed ‘green hydrogen,’ and natural gas with carbon capture and storage, dubbed ‘blue hydrogen,’ facilities like as Aldbrough will serve as a storage facility for low-carbon energy.

Equinor has revealed its ambition to create 1.8GW of ‘blue hydrogen’ production in the region, beginning with the 0.6GW H2H Saltend project, which will begin supplying low-carbon hydrogen to local industry and power in the mid-2020s. Before the end of the decade, a 1.2GW production plant will be built to serve the Keadby Hydrogen Power Station, which has been proposed by SSE Thermal and Equinor as the world’s first 100 percent hydrogen-fired power station.

The Humber cooperation between SSE Thermal and Equinor is the first end-to-end hydrogen proposal in the UK, integrating production, storage, and demand projects in the region. While the Aldbrough facility will initially be used to store hydrogen generated at the Keadby Hydrogen Power Station, the benefits of this large-scale hydrogen storage go well beyond power generation. The plant would support the region’s burgeoning hydrogen goals by enabling the development of green hydrogen and providing an expanding offtaker market, including heat, industry, and transportation, beginning in the late 2020s.

Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage, as well as the partners’ other hydrogen projects in the region, are still in the development stage, and final investment decisions will be contingent on the establishment of appropriate business models and accompanying infrastructure.

The Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage project is the latest in a long-standing relationship between SSE Thermal and Equinor in the United Kingdom, which also includes a joint venture to create the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank.

Nedim Husomanovic

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