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New plant near Hull could triple UK hydrogen production capacity

29 June 2021

Plans for two first-of-a-kind, low-carbon power stations in the UK’s Humber region have taken a significant step forward after SSE Thermal and Equinor submitted a planning (DCO) application. The plans, which could triple the UK’s hydrogen output, comprise one of the UK’s first power stations with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and the world’s first major 100% hydrogen-fuelled power station.

Image: SSE Thermal
Image: SSE Thermal

The proposed Keadby Carbon Capture Power Station, or ‘Keadby 3’, would be a new 900MW power station in North Lincolnshire, fuelled by natural gas and fitted with carbon capture technology to remove CO2 from its emissions. The new power station would replace older, carbon-intensive generation on the electricity grid, providing flexible and efficient power to support intermittent renewable generation and maintain security of supply through the net zero transition.

The power station would connect into the onshore CO2 pipeline infrastructure being developed by the Zero Carbon Humber (ZCH) partnership – which includes Equinor and SSE Thermal – and offshore CO2 infrastructure being developed by the Northern Endurance Partnership (NEP), which includes Equinor. This would see the captured CO2 transported from the Keadby site and securely stored under the Southern North Sea.

Keadby Carbon Capture Power Station would capture around 1.5 million tonnes (MT) of CO2 annually, meeting 15% of the 10MT target for 2030 set out in the Prime Minister’s ‘Ten-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’ last year. With the necessary policy mechanisms and shared infrastructure in place, Keadby Carbon Capture Power Station would have the potential to come online by 2027, in line with Government plans for ‘Track 1’ industrial cluster projects.

Given the readiness of carbon capture technology in power generation, projects like Keadby Carbon Capture Power Station can help stimulate the development of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure in the Humber, into which other energy and industrial emitters can then connect to capture and store their emissions, a statement from SSE Thermal said. This will accelerate the decarbonisation of the UK’s most carbon-intensive industrial region, while supporting a just transition to net zero for industrial workers and communities.

Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Thermal, said: “We’re excited to reach this milestone in the development of our Keadby Carbon Capture Power Station project, which could become one of the UK’s first power stations equipped with carbon capture technology. Working with our partners in Equinor, we believe we can lead the way in delivering low-carbon flexible power to accelerate the transition to a net zero energy system. This project would play a major role in decarbonising the UK’s power generation, while supporting the wider green industrial revolution in the Humber, stimulating major local investment and creating and protecting high-quality jobs.”

Grete Tveit, Senior Vice President for Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor, said: “This is an important and welcome step in the progress for our Keadby Carbon Capture Power Station project, which will contribute to the decarbonisation of the wider Humber region and the UK’s transition to net zero. It is crucial that this and our other carbon capture and hydrogen projects with SSE Thermal become a reality. They will deliver low-carbon power and enable industry and other hard-to-abate sectors to cut emissions, and help make the UK a leader in the green industrial revolution. We are committed to working together with our stakeholders to make these investments happen.”

Ian Kelly, Chief Executive of the Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce said: "The Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce is backing the submission of the application for the Keadby Carbon Capture Power Station which marks a significant milestone, not only for the project but for the Humber Region. A project of this scale could bring significant investment to the area and the Chamber looks forward to working with SSE Thermal and Equinor to realise this potential. The Humber and surrounding areas continue to be an excellent place to invest, work and live."

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