Milestone test in bid to establish hydrogen as alternative fuel

A major milestone has taken place in a bid to establish hydrogen as a viable fuel source for businesses.

The first hydrogen has been ‘fired’ in a trial to demonstrate alternative sustainable sources of fuel for industry and so reduce carbon levels.

It was fired into a boiler at Dunphy Combustion’s test centre in Rochdale, to generate heat which demonstrates that hydrogen can be used by industry as a sustainable alternative to natural gas.

Virtual attendees included staff from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Unilever.

Both Unilever and NSG-Pilkington will be running their own demonstrations later this year, Unilever holding its onw in a live manufacturing environment, followed by a hydrogen firing demonstration on a glass production furnace at NSG-Pilkington in St Helens.

The demonstration programme will provide the evidence to support the suitability of hydrogen as a clean replacement fuel for industry, as part of HyNet North West, the UK’s leading integrated hydrogen and carbon capture storage project, which will start delivering carbon dioxide emissions savings by 2025.

By 2030, it will be capable of removing up to 10 million tonnes of carbon from across North West England and North East Wales each year – the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road annually.

HyNet North West says it will bring employment and economic growth to the North West region, kick-starting a low carbon hydrogen economy, protecting employment and creating more than 6,000 permanent jobs, setting the region on course to be the world leader in clean energy innovation.

The HyNet Industrial Fuel Switching programme was awarded funding of £5.3m from BEIS through its Energy Innovation Programme in February 2020.

Andy Burnham, Metro-Mayor for Greater Manchester, said: “This hydrogen trial shows how the North West and Greater Manchester are at the forefront of the low carbon economy and that, working with Cadent and the HyNetNW project, we can deliver deep decarbonisation of society.

“The new hydrogen network will supply our industry with low carbon hydrogen, decarbonising our homes and vehicles and creating good jobs for the future which is part of our drive to deliver carbon neutrality by 2038.”

David Parkin, director at Progressive Energy which is leading the programme, said: “Decarbonising our industry is vital for the UK to reach net zero by 2050. The HyNet Industrial Fuel Switching project will provide evidence and data to enable industry to be ready to convert to hydrogen as soon as it is available from the HyNet North West project.”