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UK starts new study on hydrogen potential

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A new research study has kicked off to explore the potential for hydrogen production off the coast of East Anglia.

The study, led by Hydrogen East, will research options and scenarios to bring together the region’s offshore gas and offshore wind sectors to produce clean hydrogen at scale for cleaner power, heat and transport fuels supplying the region and beyond.

The ‘Bacton Energy Hub: Exploring the potential for hydrogen from the Southern North Sea’ study will provide a detailed map of existing offshore and onshore energy-related infrastructure and develop options and scenarios for where wind farms, gas platforms, subsea pipelines and cables could be integrated or repurposed over time to support hydrogen production, with the Bacton terminal on North Norfolk’s coast being used for injection into the national grid.

The project is well timed following recent announcements such as the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point-Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, together with a wide range of independent research reports across the world, identifying a clear role for hydrogen to support the decarbonization of heat and transport systems.

Hydrogen and its use in the energy sector has developed rapidly over the past 18 months, internationally and in the UK, as a versatile gas and an essential enabler of meeting the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target.

Hydrogen can be used and stored as a zero-carbon fuel supporting low-carbon heating for homes and business, and almost all forms of transport, from passenger cars to trains, heavy goods and farm vehicles, buses, trains, boats, and planes.

There is a growing level of research on how different technologies to produce hydrogen could be developed and scaled-up, such as electrolysers powered by offshore wind, nuclear, or solar; or reforming natural gas to hydrogen whilst capturing and storing carbon dioxide in depleted gas reservoirs under the North Sea.

The study is being co-funded by OGTC, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, and North Norfolk District Council, with support from New Anglia Energy, Opergy, and Xodus Group.

“Developing the options for a potential Bacton Energy Hub will help to facilitate and accelerate the transition towards net zero emissions. It is a key regional project, which could realize extensive potential benefits both in terms of supporting delivery of the Local Industrial Strategy and the stated aim of enabling Norfolk and Suffolk to become the UK’s Clean Growth Region. It will contribute to Hydrogen East’s driving objective of Norfolk and Suffolk becoming a significant regional hydrogen economy.”

Nigel Cornwall, co-founder of Hydrogen East and a director at New Anglia Energy.

Anela Dokso

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