A large proportion of the £90 million investment will include funding for two of Europe’s first-ever large scale, low carbon hydrogen production plants – the first on the banks of the Mersey, the second planned for near Aberdeen. A third project will develop technology to harness offshore wind off the Grimsby coast to power electrolysis and produce hydrogen.
Hydrogen is a low/zero-emission alternative to fossil fuels which could power future industry and transport. The investment will also fund projects to trial cutting-edge technologies for switching industrial production from fossil fuels to renewables in industries such as cement and glass production.
Martyn Bridges, director of technical communications and project management at Worcester Bosch, has responded commenting: “The Government has awarded five UK projects investigating whether hydrogen is a viable option to reduce our UK carbon emissions £30m of funding. We welcome this indication of commitment by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to invest in technologies that will help decarbonise UK heating and hot water.
“Hydrogen has been explored and discussed by heating experts and scientists as a potential alternative to fossil fuels universally for quite a while. We at Worcester Bosch believe this to be a strong contender. Through funding localised projects and proposals such as the ‘Acorn’ project in Aberdeen and ‘Hynet’ scheme in Chester, we are hopeful about the prospect of hydrogen as a future heat source. We believe that this method is a very sensible approach and will prove the concept, and subsequently acceptance, of hydrogen.”
The remaining funds will be used to fund projects aimed at cutting household emissions and bills through nine UK-wide local ‘smart energy’ projects. Over 250,000 people could have their homes powered by local renewable sources by 2030 – which could lead to their energy bills reducing by as much as half, thanks to this government funding.
If successful, the 10 community pilot projects from Rugeley near Stafford to Coleraine in Northern Ireland could revolutionise local energy generation – allowing local communities to join the frontline in the fight against climate change.
In Rugeley, a coal fired power station is to be demolished and turned into a sustainable village of 2,300 homes. Residents will benefit from thermal storage units instead of traditional gas boilers, enabling them to draw, store and heat their homes with geothermal energy from local canals and disused mine shafts.
In Coleraine, a micro-grid of nearly 100 homes will be established, powered entirely by local wind power. It will help lower household electricity bills by as much as 50 per cent and boost the contribution of renewables to the local energy mix by a quarter.
Visiting the Gigastack project in Grimsby, Kwasi Kwarteng, minister for business, energy and clean growth, said: “Cleaning up emissions from industry and housing is a big challenge but the £90 million investment will set us on the right path as we develop clean technologies like hydrogen.
This is an important part of our world-leading efforts in eliminating our contribution to climate change by 2050 while also growing our economy, creating up to two million green collar jobs across the country by 2030.”
This investment in low carbon innovation will be crucial to help end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050. This news comes just two weeks after the prime minister announced plans to bring forward the phase-out of coal to 2024 as we continue to ramp up our Year of Climate Action ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.