UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero is committing £6.1m ($7.4m) to the Bay Hydrogen Hub. This ambitious project, backed by a consortium comprising EDF, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), and Vulcan Burners, aims to supply hydrogen to an asphalt plant, demonstrating zero-emission asphalt production using nuclear-derived hydrogen.
Hanson’s Criggion asphalt plant in mid-Wales will serve as the testing ground for this net zero asphalt project, set to be operational by early 2024. The Bay Hydrogen Hub is dedicated to showcasing the viability of nuclear-derived hydrogen in replacing fossil fuels in asphalt production.
The project integrates electricity and steam from the Heysham 2 nuclear power plant into a solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) electrolyzer on-site at Criggion. This setup will produce hydrogen, transported from Heysham 2 to Criggion via high-capacity road tankers. The coupling of SOEC with nuclear heat and electricity is expected to enhance hydrogen production efficiency by over 20%, outperforming proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis.
The groundbreaking nature of this project lies not only in its aim to demonstrate hydrogen as a fuel at an asphalt plant but also in the potential for substantial carbon savings. The Criggion site alone could achieve around 3,300 tonnes of carbon savings per year, setting the stage for broader decarbonization across multiple Heidelberg Materials asphalt and cement sites.