Image: Thames Estuary Growth Board

The Thames Estuary Growth Board has released a map of the Thames Estuary’s hydrogen routes.

This substantial advancement in hydrogen energy in the UK will put the country on schedule to achieve net zero emissions by 2035, support 9,000 employment, and provide £3.8 billion in GVA to the UK economy.

The Hydrogen Route Map identifies areas of demand, supply, distribution, and storage; it defines investment market requirements and pinpoints investment clusters; it develops a broad network of relationships with key stakeholders; and it emphasizes the competitive advantage of locating a hydrogen ecosystem in the Estuary.

On a national level, this will keep the UK on track to achieve net zero carbon emissions by decreasing carbon emissions by up to 5.9 million tons per year. The Thames Estuary is prepared to contribute to international efforts to research, develop, and consume sustainable energy in the run-up to COP26.

Due to its proximity to the capital and its extension to the North Sea, the Estuary is particularly positioned to deliver a hydrogen ecosystem. The region offers a diverse spectrum of prospective end users from a variety of industries, including high-heat industrial, transportation (road, rail, air, and river), data, and heating, all of which are beginning to make strategies for their zero-carbon futures.

Additionally, large-scale infrastructure projects, such as the Lower Thames Crossing, provide an opportunity to demonstrate fossil-free construction methods.

Notably, in terms of storage, local demand for carbon dioxide enables re-use. Finally, the Thames is the greatest port cluster in the United Kingdom, owing to the presence of a sizable fleet of back-to-base logistical activities in numerous port sites.

Hydrogen developments will generate significant advantages for people and local economies throughout the Thames Estuary region, generating over £2.2 billion in investment and assisting in the region’s leveling up through employment creation. The move away from fossil fuels will contribute to resolving air quality issues and enhancing health and well-being.

Hydrogen has a plethora of advantages. Hydrogen is a clean, renewable energy source that is abundant in supply, with multiple local sources and a sustainable manufacturing system. It is non-toxic and significantly more efficient than alternative energy sources. Hydrogen has the potential to play a critical role in decarbonizing the heat and transportation sectors, as well as energy-intensive businesses such as chemicals, oil refineries, and power generation.

The Thames Estuary Growth Board commissioned Ikigai and DNV to develop this Hydrogen Route Map in response to the Thames Estuary Hydrogen Summit in November 2020, which brought together leaders and experts from industry, academia, transportation, and energy and revealed a strong appetite and demand for hydrogen in the region. This week, the Thames Estuary will be urging the government to support our Route Map concept in the Comprehensive Spending Review by allocating source cash to kick-start our Living Labs concept.

The UK government is committed to delivering hydrogen on a large scale and intends to collaborate with industry to reach 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity in the UK by 2030. Due to its natural and economic geography, as well as its position as a strategic investment partner, the Thames Estuary has the potential to power this ambition and assist the Government in becoming a worldwide player in hydrogen energy.

The Thames Estuary Growth Board is a strategic investment partner to the Government, supporting the leveling up agenda and national recovery from Covid by commissioning bankable investment ideas such as the Hydrogen Route Map. This is an incredible opportunity for investors to participate in the most incredible hydrogen project on the globe.

“We are proud and excited to launch The Thames Estuary Hydrogen Route Map. Through our Green Blue vision, our objective is to unlock £190bn of national growth potential by capitalising upon the unique built and natural assets of the Thames Estuary. The Growth Board works tirelessly to identify and catalyse new opportunities to create the cleanest and greenest river-side region anywhere on the planet.

Over the past six months, we have looked across the Estuary to understand the needs and opportunities and articulate the scope for a hydrogen ecosystem which is compelling and capable of attracting multi-billion-pound investment. A hydrogen ecosystem in the Estuary will have far-reaching, positive implications not only for the region, but for the UK as a whole.” – Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Nedim Husomanovic

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