Hydrogen East launches East of England industry-led network


On 28 July, Hydrogen East hosted its launch event via a virtual webinar. The event saw more than 200 registrations and speakers from Arup, Bernstein Research and EDF Energy.

The event was opened by Hydrogen East Co-founder Nigel Cornwall, who gave an overview of Hydrogen East’s role in the East of England as a facilitator and supporter of building a regional hydrogen economy. He outlined the organisations founding members in EDF Energy, TCP ECO, CPH2, Opergy and New Anglia Energy and supporting organisations such as Arup, EEEGR, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and ORE Catapult.

Johnathan Reynolds, Hydrogen East Co-founder and Opergy Managing Director, outlined the aims and aspirations of Hydrogen East. He gave an overview of the applications of hydrogen across a range of sectors including heat, transport, power and industry. East Anglia was also highlighted as one of the only regions in the UK without a hydrogen development project currently compared to examples such as HyDeploy in the North East and Hynet in the North West.

He went on to detail the particular advantages that East Anglia has for developing hydrogen, whilst highlighting the supporting role that Hydrogen East can play in raising awareness and supporting local supply chains and markets. The Bacton Terminal along the Norfolk coast was identified as a potential hydrogen terminal, termed ‘Bacton 2.0’, allowing for integration with offshore wind and large-scale gas injection to the grid. Great Yarmouth Power Station was highlighted as a potential contender for ‘Britain’s first hydrogen power station’ with direct pipelines to the Bacton Terminal and currently the single biggest CO2 emitter in the region. Potential sites for local demonstrator projects were highlighted as PowerPark (Lowestoft), Scottow Enterprise Park, Snetterton Business Park and Mid Suffolk Business Park (Eye). These local ideas were shown to align with existing research and development plans in the East of England with ORE Catapult’s ‘Energy Systems Integrated CoE’ and the UEA-led ‘SuNRISE Coast’ programme on hydrogen sector synergies.

Mark Neller, Arup Energy Business Leader, gave an overview of a number of hydrogen UK projects. The first project presented was Project Cavendish which aims to create low-carbon and economically viable hydrogen production in London by 2040. The project feasibility studies found that 97% of CO2 could be captured from hydrogen production through gas reformation at an efficiency of 85%. It is currently in the process of developing a business model to facilitate phase one construction of producing approximately 200MW of hydrogen from 2026/27. Hy4Heat was highlighted as another project being progressed by Arup. The BEIS-funded project aims to determine the application of hydrogen in residential and commercial buildings. The project has found that hydrogen-ready boilers can withstand a blend of 20% hydrogen currently and can take 100% hydrogen concentrations with small modifications.

Deepa Venkateswaran, Bernstein Senior Analyst, gave an overview of the developments of hydrogen to-date. Bernstein research forecasts a strong reduction in green hydrogen costs through falling electrolyser and offshore wind costs. Venkateswaran highlighted the particular opportunity that the UK, and in turn East Anglia, has for green hydrogen production through renewables. Bernstein estimates an explosion of electrolyser capacity globally from 2040.

Shekhar Sumit presented on EDF Energy’s plans to establish a Sizewell C Energy Hub. EDF Energy sees hydrogen opportunities at Sizewell as following a two-phased approach. Phase one would see a demonstration 2MW electrolyser installed at Sizewell B for production of 800 kg of hydrogen per day – equivalent to powering 160 cars or 541 homes for one day. Phase two would see installation of a larger electrolyser powered by both electricity and heat from Sizewell C once constructed (expected to commence late-2021). Sumit also discussed the potential for hydrogen to be utilised in decarbonising the local town of Leiston in its net zero plans through hydrogen transport and bottled hydrogen for off-gas grid homes.

Nigel Cornwall concluded with the next steps for Hydrogen East. He outlined plans for mapping local demand, skills and infrastructure in order to develop a hydrogen route map for East Anglia. He also urged local stakeholders to reach out and get in touch on mail@hydrogeneast.uk in order to participate in establishing a hydrogen economy in the East of England.

Johnathan Reynolds of Hydrogen East commented “We were very pleased with the support and feedback we received around the launch event, and we are delighted EDF Energy is working with us to help East Anglia build on its reputation as Britain’s clean energy region.

Latest projections from National Grid suggest hydrogen could meet between 30-60% of energy use by 2050. East Anglia has an abundance of existing clean energy projects and opportunities, and our job is to ensure we work together with key stakeholders like EDF Energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the net zero target.”

Michael Brown