Key contracts awarded for proposed hydrogen storage scheme

Energy companies Equinor and SSE Thermal have awarded contracts for work on a planned hydrogen storage facility at Aldbrough, East Yorkshire.

Engineering company Atkins and sustainability consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM) have both been hired, representing a milestone in the proposed development of one of the world’s largest hydrogen storage facilities.

The Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage project is a collaboration between Equinor and SSE Thermal. It plans to store low carbon hydrogen either within the existing natural gas storage facility or at a new hydrogen storage site next to the Aldbrough Gas Storage facility.

This could be in operation by early 2028, with an initial expected capacity of at least 320 Gigawatt hours (GWh), enough to power over 860 hydrogen buses a year.

Atkins has secured the contract to conduct a feasibility study to assess the design of the hydrogen storage caverns at Aldbrough, as well as the corresponding pipeline to transport hydrogen to and from the proposed new Humber Low Carbon Pipelines (HLPC) being developed as part of the Zero Carbon Humber partnership.

The outcome of the assessment will provide the foundation for the next phase of scoping work as the project matures. The contract also includes the option for subsequent pre front end engineering design work.

ERM’s contract covers the environmental, health, safety and permitting aspects of the scheme, which are vital to developing Equinor’s future ‘Hydrogen to Humber’ (H2H) ambitions and enabling flexibility in the regional hydrogen production, usage and storage value chain.

Hydrogen storage will support fuel switching in many sectors including flexible power generation alongside intermittent renewables, industrial use and heat.

It will also support optimal production of both blue and green hydrogen production, providing back-up where large proportions of energy are produced from renewable power.

Equinor, which operates hydrogen, carbon capture and renewables projects across Europe, has an ambition to reach 1.8GW of hydrogen production in the Humber, over a third of the Government’s UK-wide target by 2030.

Dan Sadler, vice president of UK low carbon solutions at Equinor, said: “We have ambitious plans to develop a hydrogen economy in the Humber, including production, usage and storage, which will make it an international beacon for low carbon energy.”

Oonagh O’Grady, head of hydrogen development at SSE Thermal, said: “We know hydrogen storage will be crucial in creating a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK, balancing production and demand and accelerating the transition to net zero.

“The contracts awarded to Atkins and ERM represent an important milestone in our plans for hydrogen storage at Aldbrough, which would play a major role in building a low-carbon future in the Humber.”

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