Industry leaders call on Government to support a clean growth supply chain in the UK
• Government urged to put policy and funding in place to ensure UK supply chain
• North West Cluster could deliver £4bn investment and 33,000 jobs
• North West could export hydrogen skills globally
• Two new members – Thyson and Mott MacDonald – join the North West Hydrogen Alliance
Business leaders across the North West came together to discuss the huge supply chain opportunities which the UK’s transition to net zero will deliver.
Hosted by Peel L&P Environmental and the North West Hydrogen Alliance (NWHA), the Energy Industries Council (EIC) event showcased some of the projects already happening in the North West to decarbonise the region – including HyNet, Protos and HyDeploy.
Industry leaders call on Government – The business community heard how, with appropriate support from Government, £4 billion of investment and 33,000 jobs are expected to result from the North West’s ambition to become the UK’s first low carbon industrial cluster by 2030.
Delivering the keynote address, Myles Kitcher, Managing Director, Peel L&P Environmental said: “This is the year when things are really going to happen. The opportunities for business across the UK and particularly here in the North West are huge. Meeting our climate change objectives is going to require innovation and new technologies, which means more skills, more jobs and more investment. It would be an absolute failure if we end up importing these skills, so we’re calling on Government to act to ensure we have the supply chain here in the UK.”
Industry leaders call on Government – A clear message from the event was that while the scale of the opportunity is huge, Government needs to act to ensure the supply chain opportunities remain in the UK. Attendees heard how failures in the past meant that while the UK is the world’s largest operator of offshore windfarms, only 50% of windfarm project costs are spent with UK companies.
Stuart Broadley, Chief Executive, Energy Industries Council said: “The UK is the world’s largest producer of offshore wind, but sadly policy and funding gaps ten years ago means today we have to import most of this technology. With new opportunities highlighted by zero carbon legislation, the UK has the chance to learn from offshore wind mistakes, and make sure we not only become world leaders in hydrogen production and CCUS but also put in place adequate policies and funding to root this technology in our home-grown supply chain and universities, and attract FDI, to ensure we become leading zero carbon technology exporters to the world, not just consumers and importers.”
The North West Energy and Hydrogen Cluster is being led by the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT), with support from Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Mayors and the Cheshire & Warrington LEP.
Emma Degg, Chief Executive, North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) said:
“The political environment is right for this to happen now. Both nationally and regionally there is no lack of ambition and we’re going to see continued investment in clean growth. In the North West we’re rising to the challenge of becoming the UK’s first low carbon industrial cluster by 2030. As business leaders if you’re not already doing something to contribute to this agenda you should be. This isn’t an opportunity for the future, businesses need to get ready now as it’s coming fast.”
A key theme of the event was the opportunity presented by hydrogen. Attendees heard about HyNet, the most advanced hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) project in the UK which could see hydrogen blended into the gas grid and piped into homes and businesses by 2024.
Commenting on the hydrogen opportunity, Professor Joseph Howe, Chair of the NWHA and Executive Director of the Thornton Energy Institute at the University of Chester, said “Not only do we have the chance to deliver billions of pounds of investment and thousands of jobs here in the UK, we have the opportunity to become world leaders and export these skills all over the world. We will need hydrogen and carbon capture and storage if we have any hope of meeting the UK’s legally binding net zero targets. The opportunity is there for us to grasp and here in the North West we plan to do exactly that. There are projects, like HyNet, which will make hydrogen a reality and they are happening right now.”
The NWHA welcomes two new members hoping to benefit from the huge supply chain opportunities on offer from hydrogen. Thyson Technology Limited, based in Ellesmere Port, is an instrumentation and engineering systems provider. The company is currently involved in the HyDeploy project which is trailing the blending of hydrogen into the gas network in Keele, with further trials planned for the North West.
Neil Stuchbury, Commercial Director at Thyson said: “There will be many challenges ahead on the path to net zero but at Thyson we’ve got a growing skills base in the North West that can help deliver a hydrogen network. Working on projects such as HyNet, we’re investing time and resource to this important agenda which will develop skills and jobs across the region. Being part of the North West Hydrogen Alliance means we’re at the heart of what’s happening and can share our technical expertise and support.”
Engineering and development consultancy Mott MacDonald has also joined the NWHA. The consultancy is supporting the UK Government on its proposed hydrogen infrastructure development programme to inform policy and funding decisions. Other recent hydrogen projects include assisting hydrogen production associated with nuclear facilities and early stage facilitation of the process for a pilot hydrogen energy system at Keele University as well as various related international projects.
Prem Mahi, Development and Innovation Director – Energy, at Mott MacDonald said: “We see the NWHA as a great partnership for us and look forward to the opportunities it will bring. We are committed to technical excellence and innovation and have much insight to share from our projects in the UK and globally. Together, the NWHA has the right connections to really push the agenda to make hydrogen energy a working reality in the UK.”
Industry leaders call on Government to support a clean growth supply chain – Notes
Unlike natural gas, when pure hydrogen is combined with oxygen and burned it produces no CO2 emissions, only heat and water. When hydrogen is used in transport to power electric fuel cell vehicles, it produces no Nitrogen Oxides or particulate emissions, so as a transport fuel it could help improve air quality.
We still rely heavily on fossil fuels (mainly natural gas) for heating our homes and businesses. The natural gas distribution networks are currently connected to more than 20 million UK homes, providing gas for heating and cooking. By using the existing gas network, hydrogen could be used as an economical heat source which would reduce our impact on the environment. Practical demonstrations are underway (HyDeploy) to test how hydrogen blending could be used for supplying heat to UK homes, without the need for replacement of domestic appliances.
Hydrogen can be stored as a gas or as a liquid, in large amounts and for long periods of time. Pressurised hydrogen can be stored in several ways and efficient hydrogen storage is an active research area. For use in the gas network, hydrogen can be stored as pressurised gas ready for use in existing pipelines, or at a much larger scale, in salt caverns. Hydrogen can also be transported in pressurised tanks or bottles or be stored and used in fuel cells, which generate electricity.
About the North West Hydrogen Alliance
The North West Hydrogen Alliance brings together some of the UK’s most influential organisations driving forward the work to develop the region as the UK’s primary hydrogen economy. The region’s reputation as the industrial North – including the necessary industries, academia, innovation, skills and natural assets – means it is in pole position to grasp the opportunity of hydrogen use. For further information visit www.nwhydrogenalliance.co.uk/ or follow @HydrogenNw
Part of the SNC-Lavalin Group, Atkins Global is one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies. Headquartered in the UK, Atkins has a global reach, with 18,000 employees, and leads in the infrastructure, transportation and energy sectors.
BOC has a strong and long-established presence in the North-West. It employs more than 600 people at its UK-wide Customer Service Centre in Worsley, Manchester. Its St Helens site, which has been operating for over 40 years, produces gases – including hydrogen – for supply to the local glass works and other regional manufacturers. BOC also has production facilities at Runcorn.
CADENT owns and operates four of the UK’s gas distribution networks. Covering the North West – and some of the largest cities outside London – its network uses over 130,000km of pipeline to deliver gas to around 11 million customers. The company has been a major supporter of HyNet since its inception.
Costain offers innovative full project life-cycle solutions for the developing hydrogen and CCUS markets. We are an engineering solutions provider with a heritage of over 70 years in Hydrogen and CCUS; our gas processing and safe gas handling knowledge positioning us as a thought leader in the deployment of solutions helping to make hydrogen a viable alternative to current fuels in the near term as a key part of transitioning to a zero-carbon energy future. Our capability spans feasibility, concept development, FEED studies, consultancy services and detailed design through to construction, commissioning and operations support. Our approach to the developing Hydrogen and CCUS market is based on our leading edge strategy to improve people’s lives by deploying integrated smart solutions to meet urgent infrastructure needs across the UK’s energy, water and transportation markets.
HALTON BOROUGH COUNCIL
Halton Borough Council is one of the UK’s smallest unitary authorities but has an enviable reputation for the delivery of large scale, complex regeneration and infrastructure projects. For example, Halton Borough Council recently delivered the Mersey Gateway, the largest infrastructure project undertaken by a single Local Authority in the UK. The total project will cost £1.86 billion over the full thirty year build and operation period.
A premier chemical company, INOVYN is at the heart of Europe’s chemical industry. Its products find use in almost every aspect of modern society, keeping people housed, healthy and connected. Its products are used in some of the most demanding applications and are fundamental raw materials for industry sectors as diverse as automotive; building and construction; paints and adhesives; food; healthcare and medical; personal care; pulp and paper; textiles; and water treatment. With more than 4,300 employees, INOVYN has manufacturing, sales and marketing operations in eight countries across Europe. Its well-invested, world-scale assets are complemented by an extensive international supply chain, which provides INOVYN with an excellent competitive position around the world.
Mott MacDonald is a US$2bn engineering, management and development consultancy. We’re involved in solving some of the world’s most urgent social, environmental and economic challenges, helping governments and businesses plan, deliver and sustain their strategic goals, responding to humanitarian and natural emergencies and improving people’s lives. Our expertise by sector includes energy, buildings, health and education, environment, transport, water and more. Our skills encompass planning, studies and design, project finance, technical advisory services, project and programme management, management consultancy and beyond. In the energy sector, we are focused on the future of energy, using technical excellence and innovation to enable our clients to deliver the transition globally.
An engineering consultancy based in Manchester, Otto Simon has a 140-year heritage in gas processing, thermal processes, and technology selection, and is now at the forefront of technical innovation currently employed in the developing hydrogen market. Otto Simon is working on pioneering UK hydrogen projects, providing practical hands-on engineering expertise to the feasibility studies, due diligence, commercialisation and re-purposing of conventional gas equipment to utilise blended hydrogen or pure hydrogen as a fuel source.
The Peel Group is a privately owned UK infrastructure and property investor with assets owned and under management of over £5Bn, centralised in the North West of England. Its portfolio of investments ranges from ports, airports and energy, to commercial property, retail and logistics. Peel Environmental owns key infrastructure which may be critical to successful implementation of decarbonised energy in the North West including Protos, and through Peel Ports, the Manchester Ship Canal and the Port of Liverpool. Peel is a strong advocate of the North West as an exemplar cluster in the development of UK decarbonised energy based on hydrogen which sits at the heart of the Energy Innovation District.
Progressive Energy is an established independent UK clean energy company focusing on project development and implementation. Progressive has deep expertise in CCUS and hydrogen, having led the Teesside Low Carbon project from 2010-2013. It now leads the HyNet project, which seeks to deploy hydrogen and CCUS infrastructure in the North West of England. Progressive is currently working with a range of partners to take the project through detailed design, consenting and a final investment decision. Progressive also leads the HyDeploy project with Cadent Gas and Northern Gas Networks and is an advisor to Government on the Hy4Heat programme.
Royal Dutch Shell plc is incorporated in England and Wales, has its headquarters in The Hague and is listed on the London, Amsterdam, and New York stock exchanges. Shell companies have operations in more than 70 countries and territories with businesses including oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids; manufacturing, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals and renewable energy projects.
Storengy UK operates the Stublach Gas Storage Project, a salt cavern storage facility in Cheshire. Once fully completed, the scheme will be the largest onshore gas storage facility in the country and will enhance the security of supply to the UK market. The gas delivered by Stublach is already enough to supply 6% of the GB peak 1-in-20 peak demand. This represent, nearly 14 GW, more than 4 times the energy delivered by Hinkley Point C.
THORNTON SCIENCE PARK
The University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park is formerly the Shell Technology, Exploration and Research Centre, with a rich 75-year history in research and development and a particular focus on energy. The University of Chester is developing Thornton Science Park as a major research and innovation hub with its Faculty of Science and Engineering at the centre. The 25-hectare (61.5 acre) site is part of the Cheshire Science Corridor and benefits from Enterprise Zone status. It is recognised as an international centre of industry and academic expertise, already home to 37 businesses, collectively employing more than 400 people. The site offers industrial laboratories, workshops and office space for new and existing companies within the STEM sectors to co-locate onsite: https://www1.chester.ac.uk/business-growth/locations/thornton-science-park
Thyson Technology Limited, based in Ellesmere Port, is primarily an instrumentation and control (gas) engineering system and solutions provider with specialist knowledge of working and installing equipment with hazardous areas. We have provided detailed design and project delivery across a number of sectors for over 25 years including UK refinery’s, Offshore O&G, Natural Gas Transmission and GDN networks. Our in-house engineering capability provides Thyson with the platform to innovate and problem solve with safety in mind at all times. We have delivered the UK’s first Natural Gas / Hydrogen blending solution at Keele and are keen to play our part in delivering net zero by 2050.
Industry leaders call on Government to support a clean growth supply chain in the UK