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UK Government backs SSE Thermal’s landmark green hydrogen project

30 Mar 2023

A first-of-a-kind green energy project from SSE Thermal in the Humber has received significant backing from the UK Government through its Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.

The Aldbrough Hydrogen Pathfinder aims to unite hydrogen production, storage and power generation in one location by the middle of the decade.

The project in East Yorkshire will support the evidence base for wider deployment of flexible hydrogen power in the UK’s net zero journey and is a major enabler of SSE Thermal’s wider Humber decarbonisation ambitions.

Now, the UK Government has recognised its potential by progressing it to the due diligence phase of its Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, which aims to support the commercial deployment of new low-carbon hydrogen production projects during the 2020s.

Located at SSE Thermal and Equinor’s existing Aldbrough Gas Storage site on the east Yorkshire coast, the concept would see green power sourced from the grid through Renewable PPAs, in compliance with the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard. Hydrogen would then be produced via a 35MW electrolyser before being stored in a converted salt cavern and then used in a 100% hydrogen-fired turbine, exporting flexible green power back to grid at times of system need.

The Aldbrough Hydrogen Pathfinder aims to produce hydrogen and start filling the cavern by 2025, subject to planning consents and reaching a final investment decision later this year. SSE Thermal is working in partnership with Siemens Energy for the delivery of the first phase of the project.

"Hydrogen will be an essential element of the UK’s future energy system, but we need to prove its potential and projects like the Aldbrough Hydrogen Pathfinder aim to achieve exactly that."

Catherine Raw, Managing Director of SSE Thermal

Its progress in the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund shows that government has recognised the strength of the project and sees the role it can play in charting a path to a hydrogen future.

“Uniting hydrogen production, storage and power generation in one location will represent a major achievement, with the Pathfinder project a part of SSE Thermal’s plans to decarbonise the UK’s most carbon-intensive industrial cluster. We look forward to working with government to progress this ambitious project, which could be in operation by the middle of this decade.”

In 2021, SSE Thermal and Equinor announced plans for one of the world's largest hydrogen storage facilities at Aldbrough. The planned Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage facility would have an initial expected capacity of at least 320 Gigawatt hours (GWh) supporting the growth of hydrogen in the Humber.

In addition, SSE Thermal and Equinor are developing Keadby Hydrogen Power Station, which could be the world’s first major 100% hydrogen-fired power station, with a peak demand of 1,800MW of hydrogen. The two companies are also exploring hydrogen blending opportunities at the jointly owned Saltend Power Station, while SSE Thermal is doing so at its Keadby 2 Power Station.