Uniper unveils plan to add 120MW green hydrogen capacity to blue H2 project




Electrolyser scheduled to start up in 2029, but a final investment decision will hinge on UK subsidies


German energy company Uniper has today announced that it intends to extend a planned blue hydrogen project it is developing in north-east England to include 120MW of green hydrogen production capacity, in order to supply Phillips 66’s nearby Humber refinery with clean H2.


The Humber H2ub Green project — the electrolysis element of the Uniper's wider Humber H2ub scheme on the site of its existing Killingholme gas-fired power station —is scheduled to start up in 2029, with its hydrogen volumes displacing fossil gas for industrial heat at the refinery.


However, Uniper will only take a final investment decision if the project meets a number of pre-conditions, including planning consent, a firm offtake contract with Phillips 66, and the government award of a Low Carbon Hydrogen Agreement (LCHA) — ie, a subsidy covering the gap between fossil gas-based H2 and its low-carbon alternatives.


According to Uniper, Humber H2ub Green’s production will meet the UK’s Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard, or a greenhouse gas emissions intensity of 20gCO2e/MJ of hydrogen at lower heating value — equivalent to 2.4kgCO2e/kgH2 — although it has not specified a power source for the project.


Unlike the EU, the UK does not require electricity supply from newly built renewables for green hydrogen to qualify for a LCHA, however projects with additional renewable energy are weighted slightly higher during grant scoring.


Uniper’s Humber H2ub is primarily based around 720MW of blue hydrogen production, which it is developing in partnership with Shell, with the aim of storing CO2 in offshore storage sites currently being developed by BP and Equinor.


A final investment decision on the wider Humber H2ub is due in 2025 — however the project was not shortlisted by the UK government to receive financial support to store emissions as part of the so-called “East Coast Cluster” carbon storage programme.


Meanwhile, Phillips 66 and Danish energy firm Ørsted shelved their plans for a 100MW electrolyser project, Gigastack, in August last year.


At the time, Gigastack's electrolyser supplier ITM suggested that the proposed facility was not necessarily cancelled — with negotiations then underway to re-design it around newly launched 20MW modules rather than the 5MW stacks that had been discontinued — however so far there have been no further updates.



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