Essar Oil to build UK’s first refinery-based hydrogen furnace


Essar Oil UK has unveiled plans to install a new £45mn furnace at its Stanlow refinery that is capable of using hydrogen as its fuel source.

On 9 February, it outlined how the scheme – still subject to planning approval – will see three existing furnaces decommissioned and replace with a single, highly efficient one. The plan is for the furnace to be installed this year, before becoming fully operational in 2023. It will be fuelled by hydrogen produced at Stanlow as part of the HyNet North West decarbonisation cluster from 2026.

It is expected the scheme will result in a number of improvements for both Stanlow and the surrounding area, including lower carbon emissions through the gas-only firing and new burners that emit lower levels of Nitrogen Oxide, as well as futureproofing to enable the use of sustainable fuel types, such as hydrogen, in future.

The fact the furnace will be able to run entirely off hydrogen will make it a first-of-its-kind for a UK refinery. It will have an improved energy efficiency of 4% compared to existing furnaces, leading to savings of 16,600 tonnes of CO2 per annum and reduced ongoing maintenance costs. Running off hydrogen from 2026, it should further reduce Stanlow’s CO2 emissions by 11%.