The Port of Southampton’s potential as a hydrogen super-hub is being explored as part of a new project we’re working on in partnership with Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG).
Our Southampton Water project will scope the site’s suitability as a centre of excellence for hydrogen production and distribution, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), and other green technologies.
Its ultimate aim is to support and facilitate the decarbonisation of local industry and transport, laying the groundwork for the full decarbonisation of our network in the south of England. Engineering firm WSP have been commissioned to undertake the project.
One of six major industrial clusters identified by the UK Government, the region is home to a bustling city of around 250,000 residents, heavy industrial sites, and one of the country’s major ports. Other assets and infrastructure such as pipelines and heavy transport make the area an ideal starting point for the introduction of hydrogen in the south. Additionally, a network of decommissioned gas distribution pipes in the area has the potential to provide efficient and cost-effective carbon transport as part of a CCUS solution.
Hydrogen and CCUS technologies are at the heart of the UK’s plans for decarbonising the economy, as set out in the Government’s December 2020 Energy White Paper. Up to £240m has been committed as part of a new Hydrogen Fund, and a 5GW hydrogen production target by 2030 has been set. The Government also aims to support up to 220,000 jobs in the next 10 years in infrastructure projects for CCUS and hydrogen.
Around 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 are emitted in and around Southampton each year from industry and customers connected to our domestic heating network. A scheme incorporating CCUS technology could reduce these emissions significantly, while local hydrogen production could further cut emissions from high-polluting sectors such as industry and shipping.
“We’re at the forefront of hydrogen exploration and Southampton could easily become a world benchmark for decarbonising whole industrial areas,” says Angus McIntosh, our Director of Energy Futures. “That would bring cleaner air, large numbers of jobs, and new economic opportunities in hydrogen production and export.”
“Green Investment Group has supported over 140 clean energy projects across the UK to date,” says Ed Northam, Head of Green Investment Group Europe, “and we continue to look for new opportunities to support the UK’s energy transition and innovative new technologies. Industrial clusters – such as Southampton – can play an important role in speeding up decarbonisation both in their local region and nationally – whilst creating further economic opportunities.”
The development of industrial clusters deploying CCUS and hydrogen can play a key role in achieving the net zero emissions targets set by the Scottish and UK Governments. Ofgem recently gave the green light to our world-first green hydrogen heating project H100 Fife, and our North-East Network & Industrial Cluster project is setting out a roadmap for the decarbonisation of Scottish industry.