23 July 2024

Public invited to have say on plans for hydrogen storage facility

by Sam Hawcroft

People are being invited to have their say on the Aldbrough hydrogen storage project during a series of public information events being held across the summer.

The consultation period from June 17 to August 18 aims to introduce the project, share preliminary findings from the environmental impact assessment, answer questions and gather feedback from the community.

The proposed facility could begin operations by early 2028, with an initial capacity of at least 320 gigawatt hours (GWh), enough to power more than 860 hydrogen buses annually.

The project, developed by Equinor and SSE Thermal, is part of a broader initiative to decarbonise flexible power generation and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

It involves upgrading the existing gas storage facility at Aldbrough, which was commissioned in 2011 and consists of nine underground salt caverns. New caverns will be created to store low-carbon hydrogen.

Project leaders say the facility will support decarbonising carbon-intensive sectors, safeguarding existing jobs and driving inward investment in the region. The Humber region, the UK’s most carbon-intensive industrial area, has unique geology ideal for hydrogen and carbon storage.

Because of the General Election on July 4, the public information events have been rescheduled.

The first will take place at Aldbrough Village Hall on Saturday, July 6, from 11am to 3pm, and again on Thursday, July 11, from 4pm to 8pm.

East Village Meadows in Garton will host sessions on Tuesday, July 9, from 4pm to 8pm, and Thursday, July 18, from 10am to 2pm.

Sproatley Village Hall will host events on Wednesday, July 10, from 10am to 2pm, and Friday, July 12, from 4pm to 8pm.

Feedback gathered at these events will help shape the final proposals before the application is submitted to the Government in 2025.

Hydrogen is often produced at a constant rate, while demand fluctuates depending on seasonal factors and time of day. To address this imbalance, it is essential to have storage facilities built into the wider infrastructure chain. Aldbrough’s unique geology provides salt caverns that have been used for storing natural gas for many years, making it an ideal location for hydrogen storage.

The Aldbrough hydrogen storage project plans to store low-carbon hydrogen at a new site next to the existing facility.

Sites within the Humber region will be able to take advantage of the shared infrastructure being developed by the East Coast Cluster to transport hydrogen between sites across the Humber and to capture CO2 and store it safely offshore.

This offers future opportunities for hydrogen produced at multiple sites across the Humber to be stored at Aldbrough.

The East Coast Cluster is a collaboration between Zero Carbon Humber, Net Zero Teesside and the Northern Endurance Partnership.

Both Equinor and SSE Thermal play an active role in the Zero Carbon Humber partnership, which aspires to create the world’s first net-zero region by 2040. Together, SSE Thermal and Equinor are developing four low-carbon projects focused on providing vital flexibility to the energy system.

In addition to Aldbrough, they are collaborating on Peterhead carbon capture power station, Keadby hydrogen power station, and Keadby 3 carbon capture power station.

To view and download the consultation documents, visit aldbroughhydrogen.com.