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Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng on a future hydrogen economy powered by the Humber

Grimsby is “absolutely central” to government’s plans to decarbonise heavy industry and hit ambitious Net Zero targets made law, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said.

He made a beeline for the world-leading offshore wind cluster as a £90 million programme to clean-up heavy industry was unveiled, using electricity generated in the North Sea to power a new Hydrogen economy.

Mr Kwarteng said: “I think Grimsby is absolutely central. Not only have we got the offshore wind, with Orsted based here, we are also right in the middle of the Humber industrial cluster, the largest industrial cluster in the UK. If you can get decarbonisation right here, you create a great benefit here. Grimsby is at the centre of that.”

Orsted is leading a consortium linking it with end user Phillips 66 Humber Refinery and electrolysis specialist ITM, the Sheffield-based global pioneer. It was the first hydrogen and fuel cell-related company to list on the London Stock Exchange back in 2004.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, left, visits Orsted's East Coast Hub on Grimsby's Royal Dock to launch the £90 million decarbonisation fund, from which the South Humber Bank will benefit. He is pictured with Duncan Clark, UK manager for Orsted.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, left, visits Orsted’s East Coast Hub on Grimsby’s Royal Dock to launch the £90 million decarbonisation fund, from which the South Humber Bank will benefit. He is pictured with Duncan Clark, UK manager for Orsted.
(Image: Rick Byrne / GrimsbyLive)

Mr Kwarteng said: “The money we will spend will kick-start and drive the development of this industry. The people I have seen today, ITM, are world-leading manufacturers in electrolysis, which produces the hydrogen.

“It is an old school experiment people did in chemistry, very simple chemistry, and we are making it on an industrial scale and trying to make hydrogen power the economy of the future, it is very exciting.”

Arriving in a hydrogen-powered car at the Royal Dock base, to sign off the £7.5 million funds, he spoke positively about the uses, and underlined how it could link up with carbon capture and storage – another element of the huge agenda that will help clean up industry.

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“There are lots of ways to use hydrogen,” he said,. “In transport, to power cars and slightly larger vehicles like HGVs and buses. Most hydrogen is used in the industrial process, steel manufacturers use hydrogen in their plants, chemical processors are looking too.

“Humberside (sic) has many of these industrial processes, and almost all are looking to use even more.

“We have made it very clear we want to decarbonise, we want Net Zero carbon by 2050 and we have gone some way in achieving that by taking coal off the grid by 2024. If you look back centuries that is an extraordinary story. Coal for many years defined power – the Miners’ Strike, it was the coal industry we depended on. Now in four years there will be no coal.”

Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, tours Orsted's East Coast Hub on Grimsby's Royal Dock, as he launches the £90m decarbonisation fund, from which the South Humber bank will be a key beneficiary.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, tours Orsted’s East Coast Hub on Grimsby’s Royal Dock, as he launches the £90m decarbonisation fund, from which the South Humber bank will be a key beneficiary.
(Image: Rick Byrne / GrimsbyLive)

Asked about pace of delivery, with Grimsby now home to 2.6GW of installed green energy generating capacity, which is set to become 5GW in the next two years, he said: “Some of our achievements are now looked on internationally. “We could always go faster, but we are a world leader in a lot of these technologies.”

The call has now gone out for a framework like that which has aided offshore wind’s development.

Hornsea Two is the project in focus, with the technology to deployed on-site at Phillips 66, which is a near neighbour to the onshore substation where the power from offshore lands.

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Latest offshore wind stories from the Humber:

Orsted’s UK manager, Duncan Clark, said: “When you look at Net Zero and look at our climate goals, and in particular our goals to clean up our industry, this is incredibly important. The work on cleaning up our electricity supply is well on, but there are lots of parts that are very difficulty to clean up. Heavy industries like steel and refineries, here hydrogen is incredibly important. We think now we have to take it on the same journey that offshore wind has been on for 10 years now – growing scale, reducing cost and doing so with a framework where government has an important part to play.

“We hope this study phase will take the next step, will help scale up, and we think that then there will be great opportunity for the Humber to be at the leading edge with this.

“We could be looking at a facility in mid 2020s, and the end of this decade a much more substantial role in hydrogen in the UK.”

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