Set to be located in the southern North Sea, the pilot project will seek to demonstrate the viability of green hydrogen production from offshore renewables, alongside hydrogen storage and distribution. It is part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between French hydrogen services company Lhyfe and Centrica, the UK’s biggest supplier of gas and the parent company of British Gas. According to the companies, the pair will also examine an additional partnership to deploy hydrogen infrastructure at commercial scale alongside offshore wind resources.
“We are pleased to announce this agreement with Centrica, which represents an exciting opportunity to drive forward the clean energy transition through large-scale offshore green hydrogen production,” said Colin Brown, UK and Ireland country manager of Lhyfe.
“Offshore electrolysis coupled with hydrogen storage will maximise the huge potential of offshore wind around the UK. The UK can become a global leader in the production of renewable green hydrogen, moving away from our reliance on fossil fuels and improving our homegrown energy security, while delivering net zero and boosting local economies.”
While doubts remain over hydrogen’s role in a net zero future, the rapid expansion of offshore wind around the British Isles is seen by many – including oil & gas giants – as an economic opportunity for green hydrogen production. The UK government recently doubled its low-carbon hydrogen production target from 5GW to 10GW by 2030, with at least half coming from green hydrogen. Although hydrogen has potential for both domestic heating fuel and transport, UK production is expected to initially support the decarbonisation of industrial hotspots such as the Humber cluster.
“Hydrogen is going to play a key role in decarbonising the UK’s power supply by 2035 and our long-term ambition is for Rough, our gas storage site, to be the world’s largest hydrogen store, offering up to 16TWh of storage capacity,” said Martin Scargill, managing director of Centrica Storage.
“This pilot will show how green hydrogen can be produced, moved and stored in the UK market; all while supporting the UK on its net zero journey.”