22 May 2024: The UK’s three major energy companies have joined forces in Parliament to introduce initiatives for a low-carbon hydrogen hub. Centrica, Equinor, and SSE Thermal have outlined proposals for generating up to 2.2GW of low-carbon hydrogen, along with the necessary pipeline and storage infrastructure, at the Easington gas terminal in East Yorkshire, northern England.

The project, named H2H Easington, incorporates plans put forth by Equinor and Centrica to establish a multi-phase green and blue hydrogen production facility. Following a collaboration agreement signed in 2022, research has explored projects capable of generating up to 1.2GW of blue hydrogen and up to 1GW of green hydrogen at Easington. The initial projects are slated for commissioning by the end of the decade, with further expansion anticipated throughout the 2030s.

Furthermore, proposals for a green hydrogen electrolyzer have been presented to the government as part of the second Hydrogen Allocation Round process. If approved, this initial electrolytic hydrogen system aims to be operational by early 2029 and would supply fuel to off-takers within the Easington terminal, replacing current natural gas usage and substantially cutting the site’s CO2 emissions by 100,000 tonnes annually. The next phase would involve utilising hydrogen for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), which plays a crucial role in advancing the energy transition within the aviation industry.

Furthermore, the collaboration will investigate a specialised hydrogen pipeline connecting H2H Easington to Equinor’s planned H2H Saltend hydrogen production facility at Saltend Chemicals Park, as well as to Equinor and SSE Thermal’s proposed hydrogen storage facility at Aldbrough on the East Yorkshire Coast. Together, these initiatives comprise the Humber Hydrogen Hub.

In a press release published by Centrica, Graham Stuart MP, member of parliament for Beverley and Holderness stated, “This is an exciting collection of projects which can help to deliver on the UK’s net zero goals and hydrogen targets whilst also supporting the Government’s levelling up agenda. I’m particularly proud to have such key strategic energy sites within my constituency that are attracting investment from large companies, creating new jobs for local people and supply chain opportunities for local businesses. It shows that East Yorkshire is an internationally renowned location for low carbon technologies, and this can only help to boost prosperity across the region.”

Also, Dan Sadler, director for hydrogen at Equinor’s UK Low Carbon Solutions said, “The proposals we’ve set out today demonstrate the commitment to the decarbonisation of the Humber by three of the largest players in UK energy, each with a track record of delivering ambitious schemes that reflect the changing demands of our economy. This is a unique opportunity to link these key sites in the Humber, pairing hydrogen production with users and storage sites to create the foundational requirements for an expanding hydrogen economy throughout the 2030s and 40s. It will help to reduce emissions whilst also stimulating economic growth.”

As the hub takes shape and operations commence, it is expected to catalyse further innovation, investment, and collaboration in the rapidly growing hydrogen sector, driving forward the UK's ambitions for net-zero emissions and a greener, more resilient energy future.