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SSE Thermal, Equinor award contracts for Aldbrough H2 project

SSE Thermal and Equinor have awarded two key contracts for work on the proposed hydrogen storage facility at Aldbrough, reinforcing their commitment to kickstarting a low carbon hydrogen economy in the region.

Engineering company Atkins has been awarded a contract to conduct a feasibility study to assess the design of the hydrogen storage caverns at Aldbrough as well as the corresponding pipeline to transport hydrogen to and from the proposed new Humber Low Carbon Pipelines (HLPC) being developed as part of the Zero Carbon Humber consortium. The outcome of the assessment will provide the foundation for the next phase of scoping work as the project matures. The contract also includes the option for subsequent pre-FEED (front end engineering design) work.

Sustainability consultancy Environmental Resources Management's (ERM) contract covers the environmental, health, safety and permitting aspects of the scheme, which are vital to developing Equinor’s future ‘Hydrogen to Humber’ (H2H) ambitions and enabling flexibility in the regional hydrogen production, usage and storage value chain.

The Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage project is a collaboration between SSE Thermal and Equinor which plans to store low carbon hydrogen either within the existing natural gas storage facility or at a new hydrogen storage site adjacent to the Aldbrough Gas Storage facility in East Yorkshire. This could be in operation by early 2028, with an initial expected capacity of at least 320 GWh, which is enough to power over 860 hydrogen buses a year. 

Hydrogen storage will be pivotal in creating a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK allowing cost effective balancing of hydrogen production and supply. Hydrogen storage will support fuel switching in many sectors including flexible power generation alongside intermittent renewables, industrial use and heat. It will also support optimal production of both blue and green hydrogen production as the hydrogen economy grows, providing back-up where large proportions of energy are produced from renewable power.

Equinor’s flagship H2H Saltend project, which will produce low carbon hydrogen to help decarbonize and fuel switch the Saltend Chemicals Park, currently one of the region’s most carbon intensive sites is the kick-starter project for a wider hydrogen economy in Humber. The H2H Saltend scheme will be submitted to the second phase of the Government’s ‘Cluster Sequencing Process’ later this month.

"We know hydrogen storage will be crucial in creating a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK, balancing production and demand and accelerating the transition to net zero," said Oonagh O’Grady, Head of Hydrogen Development at SSE Thermal. "The contracts awarded to Atkins and ERM represent an important milestone in our plans for hydrogen storage at Aldbrough, which would play a major role in building a low-carbon future in the Humber."