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Local, Low-Carbon Hydrogen Can Level Up the UK

Photo credit: Trevor Burrows

Carlton Power is a British company  at the forefront of seeking to develop hydrogen hubs across the UK. These hubs, intentionally based in locations outside the main hydrogen industrial clusters, will accelerate Net Zero and the energy transition in these areas.

Working in partnership with local councils, Local Economic Partnerships and industry, Carlton Power’s first phase of projects will deliver green hydrogen to Cumbria, Devon and Greater Manchester from 2025, with more to follow.

Each scheme will use renewable electricity—principally wind and solar—to produce green hydrogen fuel for local companies, including energy-intensive industries and those with transport fleets. These schemes can act as catalysts for multi-million-pound inward investments, be distributed around the country and therefore, help to achieve the Government’s levelling-up ambitions.

Hydrogen: new jobs

Carlton’s £300 million Trafford Green Hydrogen scheme in Greater Manchester is the UK’s largest consented green hydrogen scheme. Strategically, it will be a catalyst for more low-carbon generation and greater energy security in the North West and it will boost investment in new energy infrastructure and job creation in the area. The first phase of the scheme (at 15–20 MW) is likely to create around 200 construction jobs over a two-year period and create up to 10 full-time operational jobs—with future phases to be constructed in response to the demand for hydrogen in the region. What is more, is that by replacing gas in the supply chains of major businesses, additional jobs will be shielded from any future efforts to achieve Net Zero. From identified hydrogen purchasers alone, this should secure 65 jobs during decarbonisation at a site that borders the eighth most income-deprived area in the country.

Net Zero

Carlton’s Langage scheme, the first of its kind in Devon and Cornwall, will initially feature a 10 MW electrolyser—capable of producing around 1200 tonnes of hydrogen per annum. At full output, a 10 MW electrolyser produces enough hydrogen to heat 14,000 homes a year. The development could have an ultimate capacity of 30–40 MW, which could decarbonise 12 million road miles each year. This site will directly support 49 jobs—ranging from construction to the operation of the electrolyser.

Hydrogen Hub Graphic

Energy Security

Carlton’s Cumbria scheme—at Barrow-in-Furness—will supply hydrogen to Kimberly-Clark, the international manufacturer of consumer products including Andrex®, Kleenex® and Huggies®. The scheme will reduce the company’s reliance on natural gas as part of its global decarbonisation strategy. The scheme will also supply hydrogen to other energy-intensive users in the area. The Barrow scheme will initially feature a 35 MW electrolyser to produce approximately 3500 tonnes of hydrogen every year—reducing 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to taking 580 trucks off UK roads every year. Supporting 318 jobs in the local area, this site goes a long way to protecting a traditional manufacturing hub from being offshored as the UK pursues its climate goals.

The construction of these three projects is contingent on securing financial support from the UK Government via its Hydrogen Investment Package—a multi-million-pound programme to encourage the growth of the hydrogen economy in the UK.

Green hydrogen has four main benefits:

  • Using low carbon electricity. The electrolysis process uses renewable electricity and produces no greenhouse gas emissions, providing an alternative to carbon-intensive fuels and helping to achieve the UK’s legally binding Net Zero targets. The production of green hydrogen will enable increased penetration of renewable energy, thereby helping to green the electricity grid.
  • Decarbonising industry. Green hydrogen can provide an alternative to natural gas in industrial processes, helping to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy security. To reduce reliance on natural gas, an alternative energy supply is required and this can sometimes be delivered by electrification. However, many industrial processes require reliable, high-temperature heat to operate. These processes cannot always be decarbonised by electrification without expensive modifications to their equipment and associated prohibitive operational costs. Green hydrogen can be used in most existing equipment with minimal modifications, enabling industry to move away from fossil fuels. In the medium term, as hydrogen-powered vehicles become more widely available, green hydrogen will be a transportation fuel for large payload vehicles. It will also be possible to use hydrogen in residential properties for heating homes and other buildings.
  • Providing system flexibility. Increased electrification of power, heat and transport will require more renewable energy to be produced. As the amount of electricity produced from renewable sources increases, production will, at times, exceed demand. This mismatch can result in the curtailment of renewable energy. Traditional renewable power supply, such as solar and wind, is intermittent and therefore, cannot be relied upon as a sole, continuous source of energy. Green hydrogen enables electricity generated from renewable sources to be stored and distributed when required during such curtailment periods. Electrolysers can be used to balance the grid and provide a demand-side response.
  • Supporting the transition to net zero. Carlton’s fleet of green hydrogen hubs will assist the UK to achieve its net zero targets by enabling industrial offtakers to transition away from natural gas and will stimulate further investment in renewable energy projects, thereby supporting the greening of the electricity grid.

Carlton Power is an independent energy development company based in the UK—at Stokesley, North Yorkshire. Since 1995, they have delivered over 2000 MW of power generation projects and their focus today is on energy developments that support the transition to a Net Zero emissions UK. These developments include PV solar, Li-ion and CRYO batteries, as well as green hydrogen production.

With their multi-disciplinary, experienced team, they are uniquely placed to consider all aspects of energy development—planning, permitting, procurement, financing, construction and operation.

For further information, please visit www.carltonpower.co.uk or contact Eric Adams edams@carltonpower.co.uk or Nick Johnson njohnson@carltonpower.co.uk

To find out more about Curia’s Levelling Up Commission, click here.

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