Equinor plans world’s first plant to convert natural gas to hydrogen

Equinor, the Norwegian green energy giant, is developing the world’s first at-scale plant to produce hydrogen from natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the Humber region of the UK.

This plant, Hydrogen to Humber Saltend (H2H Saltend), is the beginning of the decarbonisation process of an industrial cluster in the Humber region, which has the highest carbon emissions out of all the industrial clusters in the UK. 

H2H Saltend, also marks the beginning of the UK government’s objectives to implement at least one low carbon industrial cluster by 2030 and to produce the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040. 

Al Cook, Executive Vice President and Equinor’s UK country manager, said:

As the UK’s leading supplier of energy, we’re proud of the role our natural gas and offshore wind has played in reducing carbon emissions in power. Now we want to go further by bringing hydrogen to the Humber region. With our partners, we plan to transform the UK’s largest industrial cluster into its greenest cluster.” 

Phases of H2H Saltend

H2H Saltend will be located at Saltend Chemicals Park near the city of Hull, UK. Its first phase includes a 600 megawatt auto thermal reformer (ATR) with carbon capture. 

The plant will enable businesses in Saltend Chemicals Park to fully transition to hydrogen and the power plant within the Park will be operated on a 30% hydrogen to natural gas blend. These green energy efforts will reduce carbon emission from the Park by nearly 900,000 tonnes of CO2, annually.

H2H Saltend, in its later phases, can be expanded to help other industrial users in the Park and across the Humber to reduce their carbon emissions, further contributing to the goal of the UK achieving net zero clusters by 2040.

According to a press release from Equinor, the plant will also enable a large-scale hydrogen network to be implemented, for both blue hydrogen (produced from natural gas with CCS) and green hydrogen (produced from electrolysis of water using renewable power), and a network for transporting and storing captured CO2 emissions. 

Geoff Holmes, Chief Executive Officer of px Group, which own and operate, Saltend Chemicals Park, said:

“px Group is delighted to be supporting H2H Saltend, a landmark project for UK energy transition. We are fully committed to helping industry reach net zero and both CCS and hydrogen will play a huge part in that. We’re looking forward to collaborating with all the project partners as we work towards this common goal.”

H2H Saltend is part of the Zero Carbon Humber alliance’s application for public co-funding in the second phase of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, introduced in 23 June 2020.

According to a press release from Equinor, a final investment decision on the plant is subject to UK policy and will be decided in 2023. Equinor and its collaborators aim for H2H Saltend to be operational by 2026.

Lina Kurdi

Lina Kurdi is an Editor and Senior Writer at CleanTech News with a primary focus on renewable energy. Lina became interested in sustainability initiatives in 2012, when news of global warming dominated the headlines. From then on, Lina has paid close attention to cleantech developments and the impact they have on protecting the Earth and all its inhabitants. With a particular interest in energy, Lina passionately believes renewable energy is the way forward into a sustainable future with net zero emissions.